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Flexibility: Adapt and Pivot

by | Jan 28, 2022 | Business, Self-Help

Flexibility: Adapt and Pivot

by | Jan 28, 2022 | Business, Self-Help

In all aspects of life, flexibility is a virtue. Whether it be with friends, family, relationships, or business, you’ll always benefit from being flexible. For some, flexibility has been the catalyst for massive success. For others, the lack of flexibility has brought great difficulty upon them.

What Does it Mean to Be Flexible? offers three different definitions for the word. Let us explore them below:

The ability to bend easily or without breaking.

This is probably the most physically literal definition of the word. This is not always a good thing. You wouldn’t want the foundation of your home to be very flexible. At the same time, I’m sure you would want the bristles on your toothbrush to be pretty flexible. Let’s talk about it in a metaphorical sense.

Life can be hard. There are ups and downs. Sometimes, life can deal some cruel dishes out. In the words of the late great Frank Sinatra, that’s life (shout out to my father for introducing me to Sinatra as a child).

The way I look at it, sometimes life will pitch us curve balls that will put us under a great deal of pressure. One metric in measuring the character in integrity of an individual may be his or her capacity to “bend” without “breaking.” To me, that’s a lesson on persistence and resilience. By this definition, I would say that being flexible is a good thing.

The quality of being easily adapted or of many different options.

Adaptability is another word that comes to mind. Being able to adapt quickly and easily is a trait that will propel one through adversity, decisions, and change. Human beings are remarkably adaptable. We’ve been able to survive (and thrive) throughout all sorts of harsh environments, conflicts, and challenges physically, mentally, and philosophically. It’s part of what makes us so great.

Being able to change direction on short notice and roll with the punches is a highly valuable characteristic. Life is chaotic. It’s like an ocean. Us humans take great efforts to channel and traverse these waters. We build boats, dig canals, and construct bridges. Being able to approach the obstacles and sudden changes that life presents is vital to success. There is never only one way to get from point A to point B. I’m not saying things will always be easy, but getting from A to B in a more roundabout way than initially expected is probably better than thinking inside the box and never taking an alternate route.

The ability or willingness to change one’s thinking or behavior.

This may be the most relevant definition of flexibility in this context. This definition describes being able to consider alternate systems, methods, or ways of thinking. This principle is priceless in so many ways. It takes quite a bit of strength to analyze your own thinking and behavior critically, and even more strength to admit that you may be doing something wrong. I have so much more respect for someone who can change his or her mind based on new information than someone who is willing to stubbornly die on a hill for a set of values, no matter how valid the opposing evidence is.

By understanding that you do not always have all of the answers and that there are things that you could be doing better, you enable yourself to capitalize on so much more of your potential. As people develop and progress through life, many become more and more solidified in their ways of thinking. The old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks holds true here. If you can go about your life with an open mind, you will find that you can innovate your way around the mightiest of obstacles.

Learning to Pivot

Just today I had two different meetings with two different gentlemen. These were networking meetings. We got to talk about ourselves and exchange ideas. Both of those conversations went in the direction that this article has. We talked about flexibility in a business sense. Both of these men were experienced entrepreneurs with their own successful businesses.

They both stressed the importance of being flexible in my career maneuvers. Being able to pivot and change to adapt to a given environment will open up avenues for success, especially as the technological landscape evolves. In both of these conversations, I cited Sears as an example of a business that simply did not do this.

When Sears, Roebuck, and Co. launched their first catalog, it was cutting-edge. Although it doesn’t sound that advanced today, the technology behind their catalog was quite advanced for that time. Fast-forward over one hundred years and Sears is on their last leg. They did not adapt with the times. They did not pivot with the technology. They weren’t flexible. This has happened to so many people, businesses, and ideas along the way. Remember Netflix’s competition?

Look at how much has changed in the last 24 months. People have had no choice but to be more flexible in so many ways. Being flexible and adapting to change is valued now more than ever before!


The overall point of my reflection this week is this: just because something works now doesn’t mean it will always work as well tomorrow. Technology is rapidly evolving. Society adapts. New ideas are born every day. In this ever-changing world, it’s so important to be flexible. Master the art of the pivot. It will take you far.

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Photo Credits: Unsplash.