My ideal Sundays have a good deal of flexibility – a slow start, perhaps followed by some cooking or household chores, a bit of gentle research or writing, or maybe meeting up with friends and family. Whatever the day holds, life runs at a gentle pace with no deadlines or clock-watching. Does that sound like your Sunday, too?
A couple of weeks ago, Sunday took a different turn. My elderly neighbour, J, fell down and banged his head on a concrete path, promptly producing a large egg-shaped lump on his forehead. I didn’t hear him fall but the reverberations rang through the rest of the day for me, and are still sounding for him.
Once he’d managed to hoist himself up and get inside, he phoned my landline. I was peacefully making yoghurt and ignored the phone, assuming it would be Microsoft Windows calling to say my computer was breaking the internet. Again. But when it immediately rang a second time, I recognised a potential crisis, answered it and the day changed course.
A reassuring paramedic came but, as I was around, there was no need for J to be taken to hospital. Instead, I was tasked with popping in hourly to check that he was not concussed. He wasn’t, but he was shaken and so we spent some time discussing what had happened. He vented his shock in a tirade of anger at himself and how “stupid” he’d been to trip up but, after a while, he calmed down enough to think it through.
His assessment was that he’d been trying to carry too many things at once, which had meant he’d only used one walking stick on an uneven surface. From this, he concluded that he could no longer take his recycling out to the bin himself and he looked very down-hearted at the thought of his world shrinking further.
I was sad to see how quickly he made that decision – and how hard he found it to hear that there might be other ways to manage the task. Eventually, he conceded that putting the recycling into a carrier bag and hooking that onto his wheeled walker might work. Perhaps, when the bruising and stiffness in his knee eases, he may try that. I do hope so.
The importance of flexibility was emphasised, loud and clear, during my NLP Practitioner training.
My essential self, with all my qualities and aspects, is absolutely OK. (Yours, too.) However, some of my thinking or behaviours may not be working so well – but unhelpful beliefs and behaviours can be changed.
Flexibility is key – and a person who can accept that will be much more comfortable and more effective than someone who is rigid and uncompromising.
It’s an idea that I have found to be invaluable, in my life and in my work. It did strike me as a completely new concept, though.
When I was growing up, holding-firm and not-being-changeable were held to be Good Things. I remember being amazed that people did not always do what they said they were going to do! It also took me a long time to work out that there was not necessarily a Right Way To Do Everything. For many years I thought there had to be a book, somewhere, where all the Right Ways must be written. The important people in my life had read this book. I, clearly, had not.
How many viable solutions do we refuse to consider, I wonder, because we are fixed on just one way to do something? And how much easier could life be if we posed one simple question:
“What else is possible?”
Why not try it and see? And let me know how it goes!
Your voice is the only thing missing from this post, so please do leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your views or your experience. And if you would like to explore ways to do something differently, I’d be happy to help. Get in touch here to arrange a free discovery conversation or to book your session.