How to Be Flexible

Mike Robbins
4 min readApr 9, 2024

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How flexible are you?

For me, it depends — on my mood, how much fear or resistance I have about something, how attached I am to a particular outcome, and various other factors.

However, as I reflect upon it, I realize that the situations, relationships, and experiences that cause me the greatest stress and frustration, are almost always the places where I’m not being flexible. And, on the flip side, the more flexible I am — the more peace, ease, and fulfillment become available for me and those around me.

Flexibility is vital for adapting to all of the uncertainties we face — at work and in life. It’s about embracing change while staying true to our core values, which ultimately leads to smoother navigation through the twists and turns of life.

Today, more than ever, we are challenged to be flexible — in our work, our relationships, our families, and in just about every other important aspect of our lives. However, due to fear, self-righteousness, resistance, stress, ignorance, rigidity, and more, we often end up being inflexible to our own detriment and to the frustration of those around us (or so I’ve been told).

Being flexible is not about being weak or passive. Flexibility is a conscious choice, a powerful skill, and a valuable approach to the ever-changing, always-evolving world in which we live. We can be firm in our convictions, passionate about our beliefs, and clear about our intentions, and at the same time be flexible enough to make pivots and be open to new ideas along the way.

Here are some key elements to expanding your own capacity for flexibility in your life — which will lead you to greater peace, joy, and fulfillment.

How to Be Flexible

Being flexible is like having a secret superpower. It helps you roll with the punches, bounce back from setbacks, and think outside the box. It can significantly help you in managing stress and empowering your team. Whether it’s trying new things or dealing with curveballs, flexibility is as important as ever these days.

Here are a few more tips on how you can be more flexible.

1. Let Go of Your Attachment

Whenever we get attached to something — a specific outcome, a particular way of doing things, a rigid opinion, etc. — we are, by definition, inflexible. Letting go of our attachment to something doesn’t mean we negate our desire or intention, it simply means we let go of controlling every aspect of it, forcing the action, and our fixation on it being exactly the way we think it should be. This is a process of conscious “non-attachment” (letting go), as opposed to detachment (not caring).

2. Be Willing to Be Wrong

Most of us love to be right and will do and say just about anything to avoid being wrong. Our obsession with “rightness” and fear of “wrongness” often gets in the way of going for what we want, saying what’s on our mind, and letting go of our fixed ideas about how things are supposed to be. When we’re willing to be wrong (not necessarily interested in or intending to be wrong), we free ourselves up and give ourselves permission to take risks, try new things, and approach things (even really important things) with a creative, innovative, and flexible perspective.

Our obsession with being right can hinder our pursuit of desires and expression of thoughts, trapping us in fixed ideas and fear-based activity. Embracing the possibility of being wrong liberates us…giving us the courage to take risks, embrace vulnerability, and approach challenges with a growth mindset.

3. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Taking ourselves too seriously (something which I know a thing or two about), creates unnecessary stress, pressure, and worry. When we’re able to laugh at ourselves (in a kind way), keep things in perspective, and remember that most of what we deal with on a daily basis in life is not life or death — we can take ourselves less seriously and thus have a more balanced, peaceful, and flexible way of relating to things.

4. Go with the Flow

If we pay attention to life, there is a natural flow that exists (although it may not always look or feel like it). The more we’re able to tap into the natural flow of life, trust ourselves and others, and believe that things will work out — the more likely we are to allow things to roll off our backs and manifest with ease. As Esther Hicks says, “Most people are rowing against the current of life. Instead of turning the boat around, all they need to do is let go of the oars.”

5. Get Support and Feedback From Others

The support and feedback of others can be invaluable in so many aspects of our life, work, and growth, especially as it relates to us being more flexible. We can learn from and model others who are more flexible than we are. We can also give people around us permission to remind us (with kindness) when we get rigid, uptight, over-attached, and start taking ourselves too seriously. Their guidance can help keep us grounded and balanced, especially when things go sideways.

Being flexible doesn’t mean being wishy-washy or lacking principles. It’s about finding a balance between being open to change and staying true to our values and goals. Flexibility allows us to navigate the complexities of life with grace and resilience. As we enhance our ability to be flexible, our impact, perspective, and success can and will expand exponentially.

How can you practice being more flexible right now? Share your thoughts, examples, insights, and more on my blog below.

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Mike Robbins

Mike Robbins is the author of five books including his latest, We’re All in This Together, which released April 2020. He’s an expert in teamwork and leadership.