If you are a planner like me (Strong “J” on the Myers-Briggs!), you have a plan most of the time and have probably been like that all of your life. When others flail around frantically, you have a plan, a backup plan, and a hazy third option that can snap into place if the first two fall through.
This works, and works well, up to a point. That point can come in traumatic circumstances when so much is beyond your control that the situation becomes the plan, or it can sneak up on you in much calmer times when so much is going on in your life that your only option is to remain flexible.
Ah, flexibility. We seek it in our bodies and when we find it, we live longer, fuller, and more enjoyable lives. But my purpose today is to ask you to seek it in your mind. What could you do if you made your mind more flexible? What new thoughts could then enter in and become part of the more pliable and accepting landscape you create inside your own head? What revelations might come to you, new ways of solving problems, dealing with difficult people, or even just new ways to enjoy life?
As we age, this challenge becomes ever more important, and in my personal experience, I have found that letting go of the plan from time to time and just letting things unfold has been both illuminating and freeing. My aim is to increase my flexibility in thinking just as most people are becoming ossified in theirs. Buck the trend, my friends!
It is worth thinking about.
How do you become more flexible mentally? I like reading science fiction and find that identifying with races and characters that are fundamentally alien to me is a great way to expand my ways of thinking and accepting the much less dramatic differences in my fellow humans. But others have thought about this, and here are some references to some concrete actions you can take to increase your personal mental flexibility.
- From a yoga perspective: Gaiam
- From a brain training perspective: Lumosity
- From a self-improvement perspective: Quora
There are many more sources out there, but the best, cheapest, and most easily available action you can take is simply to stretch your mental boundaries. Do, Be, Experience, Come in contact with…Something Different. Expand your comfort zone and you will expand your mind.
Let me know how it goes!