Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flexibility - To be or not to be

Sometimes in life we face a difficult situation. Imagine, we have given an opinion about something or have taken a decision. Then, we are confronted by an alternate view or course of action. On top of it, the alternative looks logical or is backed by someone influential. Some of us will readily consider the option and change our stance. Many of us, worry about the consequences of changing our position. We feel that we will end up looking hasty or not intelligent enough if we change our minds.

Flexibility is something that most of us advocate or recommend but when it comes to ourselves, we prefer to be otherwise. What we call as firm mind is seen as and branded as 'stubborn' by others. Inflexible people are seen as closed minded people who have a difficulty in accepting fresh thoughts or ideas. To avoid this, some people (esp. politicians) cleverly refuse to reveal their thoughts till everyone's thoughts are known.

When we are flexible and accomodative, people find it comfortable to deal with us. We have better relationship with our family and friends. Our circle of influence increases and we tend to attract more open communication. We tend to listen with empathy and do not get into 'positions' from where we cannot extract ourselves. Flexible people are solution oriented and want to move forward rather than getting stuck with issues.

There are some situations where flexibility ceases to be a virtue. When we have made a commitment or a promise, we cannot show flexibility in the performance. When it come to a question of values, one should never show flexibility even if it results in us losing out in the short term.

A lot of pressure and stress is generated when values are upheld. Lot of people avoid this and try to take the easy way out. Rather than fight for the truth and pay the price for it, people tend to compromise and dilute standards. Such an approach might look easy and positive in the short term but will have significant impact on the longer term. The sub-prime crisis that hit the world economy in 2008 is a clear and recent example of this.

Flexibility is a virtue except on questions of values.


Sonal Raisinghani said...

The message here is very clear : hold on to your values. They are your jewels.

Rizal Affif said...

I feel that instead of trying to figure out which is right and wrong, it is better to see difference--difference of point of view, pointing at the same Truth.

Adopting this results in flexibility itself.

Thanks for sharing this :)

V Rakesh said...

I do agree Sir, that flexibility is a virtue with the exception of its application to virtues, for if one is flexible, one is rational and free from stress!

Besides, a person who is flexible is an example of how one can accept change and stay as close to reality as possible!

Great post as ever!

Anonymous said...

A lovely post..

There is a small story for flexibility in the Aesop fables..
An oak and a reed were arguing about their strength when a strong wind came up,the reed avoided being uprooted by bending and leaning with the gusts of wind..But the oak stood firm and was torn up by the roots..

One must be flexible when required and no one should think that flexibility is a sign of weakness..

"Be firm and fixed on your principles but flexible in your approach"


Latha Nair said...

Successful ppl are good judges of ppl and employ the right amount of flexibility depending upon the persons and situations they deal with.
A well-thought out post

arvind said...
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