Emotional Wellbeing

Mandy Kloppers

Why it’s important to practise flexible thinking

There is a theory that the more flexible you are in the way you think about the world, the happier you will be. This makes sense because if something or someone lets you down, if you can tell yourself it’s not that bad and find other ways to think about it – for example, I never wanted that car anyhow, there must be a better one waiting for me – you will be much happier than someone who thinks: I can’t believe I didn’t get that car. This sucks. I need that car and no other car will be do.

This is someone who will have a lot of frustration in life due to being a rigid thinker. Think of this analogy:

The Mighty Oak  – it is stuck, rigid, closed, vulnerable

The oak tree is mightier than the palm tree. It is big, strong, stiff and unyielding. It is inflexible, and is much more vulnerable to being broken and blown down as a result of strong winds.

The Swaying Palm   – it is open, flexible, tolerant, adaptable

The palm tree is smaller and flexible. It bends with the fierce wind in a storm, before standing again and continuing to live after the storm has passed.

 The hard and the rigid will break.  The soft and the flexible will remain.
Tao Te Ching

So it is with our minds. A fixed and rigid mind means being very closed and is much less healthy than a mind that is open, tolerant and flexible.  An open and flexible mind allows growth, learning and progress. It is less judgmental.

Just as the outside weather doesn’t affect who we are, our core beliefs and life values, so our thoughts are just the weather of our minds. 

It feels like we’re in a hurricane, but eventually, the hurricane will run out of energy.

We might adapt and do things differently in spite of the weather.   We have calm and sunny days, and there are stormy days, but we still have choices about how we react to that weather (our thoughts) and what we do.

We can learn to notice when we are being a rigid oak, and become more flexible and open by allowing those winds of thoughts, images, words and feelings to blow on through and let them pass.

Learn to be more tolerant and adopt an approach of “Live and let live”. You will absolutely be happier for it.

Mandy X

Scroll to Top