Flexible thinking is a vital life skill for success in all areas.
Flexible thinking does not mean doing a workout in the gym to become fit and have more flexible physical muscles. This is all about having flexible thinking muscles.
• Do complicated tasks seem insurmountable and you feel frozen by overwhelm you?
• Are decisions are difficult for you, and you torment and doubt yourself after you have made a decision?
• Do you get thrown off course by life change?
• Do you have an all or nothing attitude?
• Are these challenges blocking your life success?
These challenges are a sign of rigid thinking patterns.
Flexible thinking can be broken down into the following 6 areas
1. Are you able to adapt new situations easily, and transition easily from one time frame/life stage to another ? Does life change faze you?
2. Can you easily and independently break down complex tasks into bite size chunks. Overwhelming tasks don’t faze you, and you can start complicated/boring tasks on time and with minimal stress.
3. Can you problem solve easily and independently? It means coming up with solutions that one would not have originally thought. You don’t see problems, you only see solutions.
4. When you are frustrated, can you easily see another person’s viewpoint or theory of mind. You can easily flexibilise your viewpoint, and “get into someone else’s mind” and independently work out their motives and understand their reasoning behind their actions.
5. Are you flexible in your self-talk? Are you a black and white thinker or perfectionist? If you possess flexible thinking skills then you will be satisfied with your achievements, no matter how imperfect, because you understand that you are an imperfect being, and you can never attain perfection. You strive for excellence, not perfection.
6. Are you attentive to boundaries? Can you say “no” to others easily or do you get “trampled on” by others and end up feeling resentful and burnt out?
Flexible thinking is brain based. Flexible thinking challenges are rooted in your brain development in the pre-frontal cortex. Your base line of flexible thinking is not your fault. You were born like this. It is your responsibility to learn the necessary skills to improve in the areas that you may be challenged in. All these areas are simply life skills that you can learn through coaching.
The world of work is changing at an ever increasing pace so employers actively seek out employees who can adapt to changing circumstances and environments and embrace new ideas, who are enterprising, resourceful and adaptable.
It is crucial to learn flexible thinking skills so you will have the best chance at life success.
Let’s look at flexible thinking skills in a real life story from one of our clients.
Sarah had a son Josh, with mild processing issues. He would leave a trail of mess wherever he went. When asked to tidy up, he would quickly get frustrated, often to the point of violent temper, and leave the job unfinished.
Sarah was at her wits end. She was fed up and wanted to see change. Through coaching she learned that he was not lazy. He was not creating messes on purpose. Josh simply lacked the age appropriate flexible thinking skill set that was holding him back. As a result of his rigid thinking skills, he suffered from poor frustration tolerance. He simply did not know how to break down the task of tidying up after himself, and would get easily angered and give up. Sarah learned that his brain did not naturally know how to break down tasks into small doable chunks. Through coaching she learned tools to teach him how to think flexibly and break down tasks.
The following Sunday lunch Josh made pizza successfully for himself in their small grill oven. Sarah observed the process and realised for the first time how many steps comprised this seemingly simple task. She praised him for accomplishing this by himself. When he had eaten she gently asked him to look around the kitchen and count how many items had been taken out of their homes, and now needed to be put away.
He looked around and with her help, counted 13 items. She then calmly asked him to put away as many items as he could. He was able to do this with 7 items, the rest he had no idea where they belonged. She helped him with the other 6 items by asking him questions to encourage him to problem solve. They put all the items away together with calm and good feelings. If this process is done enough times he will be able to do problem solve this independently.
Flexible thinking in action!
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