I’ve been trying out a new routine for myself (and actually trying to stick to one). This includes a morning walking. But the last couple of days, I’ve not been able to do this for one reason or another. So I opted to go for an evening walk instead. In the past, I would have totally skipped a walk if I couldn’t go in the morning! An excuse, really. But this made me reflect on being flexible.
On Being Flexible
Here’s a story I read a long time ago:
It is said that Emperor Babur was obsessed with conquering the rich kingdom of Samarkand. He was defeated, lost what he had and was forced to retreat to the mountains, living the life of a nomad along with a few loyal men. One night he was disturbed by a huge commotion outside his tent. A soldier told him that a wolf had been coming for three nights to the camp to look for a meal. On the first night, it went into the enclosure for the horses and was promptly kicked out. The next night, it went into the sheep’s enclosure, but ran away when the sheep started bleating loudly. The night of the commotion, the wolf entered the chicken coop and got away with a chicken.
When Babur reflected on this he realized that the wolf was smarter that he was. The wolf, he said, was not obsessed with a single objective. When he was unsuccessful he moved to another objective, while Babur himself was constantly obsessed with Samarkand. That is when Babur began look elsewhere to fulfill his desire to be a powerful king. He looked to India and established the Mughal dynasty.
I’m no fan of Babur’s however, when I read this story recently it struck a chord. It made be begin to think of how obsessive we can be about what we want in life.
While, I think it’s very important to have dreams and goals. I also believe that we need to be flexible enough to redefine our goals based on circumstances and situations that life brings our way. We have to learn to adapt to change.
Letting Go Of The Life We’ve Planned
I think of Sanam who I interviewed some years ago. Her terrible accident and its consequences meant that she had to give up her dream of being a vet. But she loved animals. So now she runs a very successful pet-sitting business.
I have tried to be flexible in my life too and am happy to report that life has a wonderful way of surprising us when we let go and enjoy the ride.
We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.~ Joseph Campbell
Another lesson that I would take from the wolf would be to be open to making errors and constantly learning from them. I could write a book about the errors I’ve made in life. Some of them I kept repeating until I got the lesson from them. I learned and have stopped making the same errors. Now, I just make new ones! 😉
Do you believe it’s good to be flexible?
Wise words, and perfect for this time of year when so many are in goal setting mode.
True, goals are good. But following them rigidly or blindly when they arent working, can be exhausting and sometimes futile too. Having a flexible approach and working on SEAT (Stop Everything And Think) is a good strategy. Being flexible also helps to be productive too. Glad that you didnt quit your morning walk and found another way to achieve the objective! Loved reading the story.
Sometimes one has no choice but to be flexible in life. I think if we can learn to be flexible in life we will be happier for it.
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
Hi Corinne – I discovered (in the process of recovering from the toxic job I left) that flexibility is a hugely important value for me. I’m now prioritizing decisions that don’t lock me into situations that aren’t good for my mental or physical health. But at the same time I’ve been setting up routines (morning and evening walks etc) that work for me and give me some structure to my day – now that I’m out of the 9-5 grind!
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM
What a wonderful post- loved the anecdotes a lot. And great learning from each of them. I think its tough for us to be flexible as we become very anal about what we want.
Its great to hear you are trying to be flexible – I find this the toughest thing to do and get hung up over it a lot.
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Esha M Dutta
Loved the anecdotes and the wisdom you shared, Corinne! I guess, to me flexibility is very important. I don’t beat myself as much for not being able to keep up with my goals, as I’d perhaps do about a decade or two back. One of the things I’ve learnt about life is that nothing is written in stone and often, reworking or re-wiring ourselves to meet an objective makes more sense. Accepting change and embracing adaptability as a part of life has never been more important, I feel.
Wise words. I believe it’s good to be flexible, just like the story of a tall tree and a thin bush. The tree fell down in storm and bush withstood by bending, tossing and turning. I love this column of yours. A take home message Everytime.
I think there is no other way other than being flexible because life does not tend to always go as per our plans. Sometimes flexibility comes to us easily whereas at other times we might suffer due to our fixation on the goal and take a longer route to attain flexibility. I am imagining what if all of us wrote one book each of the mistakes we committed and the lessons we learned or not learned from them. I hope it doesn’t sound Chetan Bhagatish – the 3 mistakes of my life 🙂
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That’s such a valuable lesson, specifically in the context that yo quotes – fitness. That’s my weak spot too. If I miss my morning work out I don’t give it a thought in the evening. I have to keep the basic objective in mind, and change routes if required.
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Hi Corinne, I do think it’s important to be flexible to be truly happy. Things don’t always go as planned, but when you are flexible there’s less disappointment, and you start to recognize and be grateful the good in every situation. I enjoyed this post and will be sharing to FB.
What a valuable lesson! I love reading these simple stories that you share along with such wonderful life lessons. As a parent I get this lesson almost daily. Nothing goes as I planned, so if I don’t make adjustments and get my things done when I could nothing will happen for me.
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I would like to say I am flexible but I am not as much as I perhaps need to be. Life is teaching me this. I am on a continuing learning curve towards flexibility but it’s hard!
These are wonderful examples of how even after being flexible, we can still achieve goals in our life. People often confuse flexibility with compromise. It’s not about giving up, it’s about finding an alternative way.
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Hi Corrine, I have learnt that being flexible is vital, both in work life and my personal life. It’s good to read of your experiences and the quotes you have shared are very true! Visiting from #mlstl
Being flexible is so important…both physically and emotionally. We need to be able to adapt to the change that comes our way and not resistant to them. Sometimes so hard, but I love that Joseph Campbell quote.
With age, “Being flexible” is getting tougher. But mostly physically. 🙂 Mentally, I am a moody kind of person and that comes from being too flexible. Now in the process of being a bit more rigid in terms of health and wellness goals. Both mental and physical.
I definitely agree. Being flexible is really very important. No matter how hard I try I struggle to maintain a routine. This happens mainly because the time I leave from work is not fixed, it keeps changing and so does my bedtime which also means my wake up time the next day either changes or I wake up without enough sleep. All of it makes it all the more important for me to be flexible with my schedule so that I can deal with things at work as well as at home.
I think I am pretty flexible and open to going with the flow. And I do think it’s important to be able to adapt and change, as circumstances demand.
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