Be Flexible

Day 86: How to Be Flexible (Even if You’re Not) or How I Learned To Pull The Stick From My Butt

Do you like to be in control?
Do you hate being in unfamiliar positions?
Do your friends laugh at you and say you’re too uptight?
Or are you too intense to have friends?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone – I used to be that guy.

I had to be in control of my situation at all times. I didn’t try new things. I never stepped out of my comfort level. And things had to be done in a very specific way.

Then I realized how miserable I was. And I examined why I was so inflexible. And it always came back to the same thing – fear.

Fear of doing something new, fear of making a mistake, fear of the unpredictable, and fear of the unknown.

Fear should never hold that much sway over your life. Fear is death to growth, ideas, and change. Fear keeps you in a box, in a rut, and oftentimes ironically delivers the same fate (or worse) than that which you were trying to avoid.

And while I’m still more uptight than some of my more carefree, fun-loving friends, I’ve taken some big steps forward in letting go. Here’s some of the ways I learned to be flexible.

Release control. As soon as you realize that the world won’t stop spinning without your direct control over every little thing, you’ll feel immensely better. Walking around with the weight of the world on your shoulders is no good for anyone – you or those around you, who have to deal with your moodiness or stress.

Give people credit. Yes, there’s a lot of people out there who will disappoint you if given half a chance. But there’s also a lot who will surprise you.

Accept that you don’t know everything about everything. We all want to be valuable at work. Value usually equals job security. However, you need to know when to step back and let others have a piece of the pie. While you might be the Resident Genius, you don’t have to be an expert on everything, or be available to answer everyone’s questions. Stick to what you do best and allow others to step up and shine in their roles.

Be daring. Are there things you’d love to do if you weren’t too chicken? Make a list and make an effort to do an item on your list once a week or once a month. With each new adventure, you’ll loosen up a bit more, gain confidence, and find it easier to step out of your comfort zone more often.

Role play. Role playing isn’t just for Dungeons & Dragons and fetishists. You can mentally role play as if you are someone with a bit more confidence or someone who does daring stuff all the time. Obviously, you don’t want to do something you’re not trained to do, but certainly you can pretend to be confident enough to dance in public, try out a song or stand-up act at an open-mic night, or meet people you would otherwise be afraid to approach.

Have no shame. My three year old dances without a care in the world, oblivious to who is watching, or how silly he might look. He’s just having fun! He hasn’t yet learned to be self conscious and hide behind a facade of acceptable behavior. Eventually, adulthood seems to crush that part of us as we become more concerned with how other people see us. Wouldn’t it be great to tap into that part of ourselves more often? The part that’s not afraid to let go and enjoy life!

It can be tough to come out of your shell, to let go, and enjoy life. But it’s better than the alternative – living in fear, never really experiencing anything deeply.

What ways have you learned to let go and be more flexible? Share your story below.

 

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David Wright is a ghostwriter who is chronicling his year in self improvement at Project 30 Days starting in January.

  • http://www.thereflectiveself.com Dandy

    Hi David,
    Love the title of this post. You are right! Flexibility really has us let go of what does not promote growth. I like to try new things to keep myself flexible. Sometimes I get an oportunity in my job to put myself out front and be seen, this is intimidating, but I will not be in a shell. It is different experiences that let me know who I am. Thanks for another great post David!

    ~Dandy

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  • http://coretrainingsolutions.net David Mount

    Thanks for the perspective. You are right flexibility is definitely related to fear. I am not by nature an organized person. I learned to be focused and organized by process and routine. I also noticed several years back that I had become an organization Nazi. Then I had kids and it was either loose the “stick up my butt” or loose out on enjoying my two awesome boys. Now they are both in high school and I can’t say I like my garage work bench a mess, but I can say that their creativity and fun loving nature is a blessing. Now I’ve learned that the biggest benefit to planning is the efficiency I gain to have more time doing what I love with who I love.

    Thanks again,
    Blessings,
    David Mount
    http://coretrainingsolutions.net/

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  • http://analyfe.wordpress.com/ Erin

    That is so true! I’ve always allowed fear to hold me back, but have been making attempts towards stepping out of my comfort zone. Thank you so much for your bulletpoints! I plan on bookmarking it for when I need a little push.

  • http://roses2rainbows.blogspot.com Linda

    This is great advice, written with humor and open-mindedness. Here are some words I like.

    “…And I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd. You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud…” words from “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi

  • http://www.project30days.com David Wright

    @Dandy – Thank you. And yes, it IS the different experiences which define us. Well said.

    @David Mount – Thank you. Having a child definitely removes sticks from most butts! My son definitely has a way of reminding me not to be so uptight.

    @Erin – Thank you – glad I could provide a push. :)

    @Linda – Thank you. And one of my favorite Bon Jovi lyrics.

  • Tesfay

    Thanks David,Ti is directly proportional to my behaviour.I Was suffering with this problem for long time.Now you gave me solutions I will try to do in practise.Thanks again.

  • Nicole Lynn Patti

    Thank you!

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  • Anexlotte

    great advice! I just had scoliocis operation two years ago and the doctors said i’ll never be flexible enough to reach my toes;but i can now and i’m even doing ballet!

    • LilyAnne

      cool!

    • Géorgie

      That is so inspiring. Your small story is proof to all that you can bounce back from anything. I use to do ballet but now I’m a runner! You will pi o qi (Piqué ;)

  • Airgil

    Wow, i like it, it definetly worth reading.

  • MissSpelt

    I still haven’t learned to be flexible.

  • jane

    sooooo afraid