by David DeFord
Recently, I saw a message on the sign of a church that read, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.”
I immediately thought of the warm up stretching exercises performed by athletes of all sports. Before competition, athletes spend time in low-stress exercises and stretching. By doing so they perform more fluidly and they reduce their risk of injuries due to pulls, tears, and sprains.
The church sign also brought to mind how coaches make mid-game adjustments to counteract the strengths and weaknesses of their own teams’ performances and to those of their opponents.
In athletics, flexibility can mean the difference between career-ending injuries and world-class performances.
Flexibility in business also helps companies respond to changes in markets, shifting customer needs, and up surging competition. The company that finds a groove and stays in it for too long will find limited growth and will probably end in failure.
Even fast food companies have learned that they must adapt their menus, offering healthier foods in order to stay profitable. The market demands this change.
This principle of adaptability also applies to individuals. Our children mature, our metabolism slows, and opportunities come and go. We must avoid rigid thinking and inflexibility if we wish to nurture our children. We must change our eating habits as our metabolism slows, and we must make course corrections in the face of new opportunities.
We must avoid becoming too comfortable in our routines. We must evaluate our bearings to insure that we continue to move in the direction of our goals.
Pilots and mariners make frequent course corrections in order to reach their chartered destinations. We must do the same.
Unfortunately we may find comfort in sameness. We may feel discomfort in change. But as we adapt to external and internal conditions we can overcome obstacles and reach our desired destinations.
Like championship coaches we can periodically call time out, look at the score, and make adjustments to our strategies. We can do this daily, weekly, and monthly. As we do so, we can insure that we will win the victory.
While I advocate flexibility, I strongly caution against lowering our standards and values to achieve a cheaper success. Our values should remain fixed in the face of pressure and friction. No true victory requires the sacrifice of our values.
In the sixties I owned a pair of black unbreakable glasses. One cold night I demonstrated to a friend the flexibility of those unbreakable glasses. The cold temperature stiffened the glasses and when I bent the ear piece it snapped.
You would think I would have learned my lesson. Five or six years later I purchased a similar pair. As I told the story of my earlier experience of breaking the unbreakable glasses I bent the ear piece in demonstration and it broke again.
I now own a pair of flexible wire glasses. You can bend them all you want and they spring back into shape. That may be true, but I wouldn’t know. I’m afraid to try.
Don’t be like those nylon glasses—rigid and inflexible. Your dreams and goals will shatter like those ear pieces. Develop the qualities of flexibility and adaptability and you will stay on course to victory.
The flexible surely are blessed.
Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity. Billy Graham
The value of a thing lies in the cost of attaining it. David DeFord
Change will happen because you make it happen. Dr. Phil McGraw
On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. Martin Luther King, Jr.
No man loses credit by being true to his principles. George Q. Cannon
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