Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
~ George Bernard Shaw
Imagine being stretched out on a yoga mat in pigeon pose. If you can hold this pose, then it might suggest that you are flexible, but physical flexibility does not translate to mental flexibility. Mental flexibility is the “ability to shift a course of thought or action according to the changing demands of a situation.” To test your tolerance for change, ask yourself the following questions.
- Are you open-minded or do you keep your opinions in pigeonholes?
- Can you say you easily accept new ideas and perspectives?
- Are you willing to try something different?
- Do you snap when nudged in the direction of opinions you don’t share or can you bend without resistance?
Flex Your Mind is the activity that encourages you to veer off the single track in your tunnel vision and bring your awareness to alternative options. Your girlfriends can help you stretch your way of thinking in new directions and open your mind to new opportunities and improved relationships by looking at different perspectives.
- At your next get-together, have each girlfriend come prepared with one or two areas of her life where she tends to be rigid. Do you have a habit that is no longer serving you? Are you holding onto a perspective that often leads to conflict in relationships?
- Take turns disclosing the details of each situation that you feel a need to control with an unyielding grip. Focus on your own perspective and why you feel the way you do. Provide context such as when the conflict tends to occur, those involved and what the typical outcome is.
- Once the troublesome area is described in detail, have each girlfriend provide an alternative viewpoint. Discuss each angle for its merits and potential pitfalls. Don’t automatically dismiss an idea without considering it from other perspectives.
- Discuss how you might become more flexible when the situation arises again. What can you do differently? How can you view it from another angle?
- Practice what your girlfriends preached. Commit to bending a little and report back to your girlfriends on your improved mental flexibility and how it has impacted your life. Reward yourself for being flexible and not for standing your ground.
Stretching your thinking beyond the boundaries you’ve cultivated throughout your lifetime is the desired outcome for this activity. It’s not about compromising your standards, morals or values. Flex Your Mind is about accepting that there are other equally valid alternatives to yours and that when you give a little, you often get back far more.
What perspectives and habits are you holding onto that no longer serve you?