When faced with change, a problem, or a difficult person, most people react by becoming extremely resistant, rigid, and inflexible. There is a much better approach - the fine art of bending. Being flexible and adapting to tough situations, enables you to ride out such storms of life and even allow them to work for you.

Research indicates that only about 15% of a business person’s success can be attributed to job knowledge and technical skills. Fully 85% of success is determined by the ability to adapt readily to changing situations and deal expediently with people. These skills require enormous flexibility and adaptability – graceful bending.

In this rapidly changing world, old ways no longer work. Research and development make yesterday’s products and procedures outmoded today. To deal with change the most valuable quality you can develop is flexibility. Remaining open-minded and adaptable to new circumstances allows you to examine any situation for its opportunity or benefit.

High achievers are invariably those who remain calm and flexible in the midst of unexpected turbulence. They experience problems and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, not as horrible reasons to procrastinate or quit. They change plans to meet the need of the moment. They are able to generate alternate plans, think of solutions and not repeat mistakes.

Once you have a plan, it may be difficult to change it and “go with the flow”. Of course, it is true that success often requires perseverance and sticking to a plan. At the same time, inflexibility can intensify a problem which is interfering with your plan. When you remain flexible you can detour around an obstacle and still reach your desired destination.

There are countless examples of times when bad situations occur that are beyond your control, for example – something you anticipated doesn’t happen, someone doesn’t deliver on a promise, someone changes your plans without your consent, you make less money that you projected, etc. Some questions to ask at these times are:
What’s really important right now?
What is the worst that can happen?
What are the alternatives?

A plan certainly can help you manage your time; however a flexible plan will help manage your stress. Write your schedule in pencil rather than carve it in stone.

Just as you need to adapt to changes in plans, it is vital to apply the same flexibility to dealing with people. Learn to bend quickly and adapt with ease.

Rigidly sticking to your point of view and arguing endlessly usually comes from a need to be right all the time. As everyone sees the world from their own perspective, there rarely are ultimate rights and wrongs in an argument. The key to having people consider your side is to show that you are a flexible person with a genuine interest in their ideas. When you want someone to agree with you, it helps to start where they are and begin working from that position. Acknowledge their perspective, even if you don’t understand it. You must be the one to move first to reach accord. Rigid thinking on both sides leads to mutual defensiveness and escalation of disagreement. A question to ask yourself in such a situation is, “Would I rather be right or would I rather be happy?”

Of course, there is a limit to how flexible you can be with your actions and interactions. You should never compromise on personal standards or principles. There is a great difference between flexible decision-making and practicing “situational” ethics. Just look at Martha Stewart and the executives from Enron.

Examine your ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to new situations and ideas. Consider that brittle steel can be shattered with a slight impact. When steel has been tempered it can withstand a mighty earthquake – it will bend easily and not break. If you need some tempering consider the following suggestions:
Be responsive to change rather than resistant.
Resolve to seek solutions rather than discord.

Positive thinking may give you power. Flexible thinking gives you even greater strength!

Author's Bio: 

Jean R Charles is a business coach, licensed professional, entrepreneur, and author of Couplepreneurs: Prosperity Through Partnership. She has built several successful businesses individually and with partners and now coaches entrepreneurs and Couplepreneurs to build profitable businesses and prosperous lives. She can be reached through her website http://www.couplepreneurs.com or email jean@justrightcoach.com.