Thursday, October 14, 2010

Being Flexible

People talk about needing to be flexible. This might be flexibility in social situations, work, or personal life. Usually this term is associated with giving in, or giving up the path that you wished to take in order to satisfy someone else’s desires or goals. I was asked (at the gym) “how soft are you?”, “excuse me” I replied, I was a bit offended until I realized that this was a direct translation from Norwegian, I was being asked how flexible I am. Here in lies the problem. Being flexible is not about being soft and yielding; it is about being supple and being strong doing that.

I completely agree that sometimes plans need to change, and fast. When I train people I need to change pace rapidly, sometimes exercises don’t work, or someone is injured, I need a new workout on the spot. I am flexible with my plans; I hold fast to the core purpose and alter the exercises as needed. I am flexible, but I have the end goal of the client in mind, the goal dictates changes and I work around the current problem. Too often in life people give up on a goal, because the feel that they need to be “flexible”, they yield and cave in completely instead of working within new parameters to achieve the same goal. This is not flexibility it is passivity. Take small group work for example. There are four people that have a rework of product that they need to present to their boss. Two people in the group have a vision and they hammer the other two until they give in. They rationalize their inaction and passive involvement by thinking that they were being “flexible”. Sure enough the product goes to the boss and it is deemed acceptable, not great, but workable. What if the two passive ones had worked with the two bull dozers, two goals would have become one, and the end result would have been far more interesting and engaging.

If you can build a core of strength that works with your flexibility you will be able to realize many more goals in life. That picture above is me (obviously), even though I work on being strong I spend time on flexibility. The mindset that springs from such continuous work has enabled me to work around corners in school, work, social situations, and in everyday life. So what are you; strong and flexible, or weak or passive? If your answer doesn’t satisfy you 100% stick around, I will bring you practical ways that you can become physically and mentally flexible.

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