Well, are you?

Stuff happens.

And the more prepared you are with a ‘plan B’ up your sleeves, the more likely you are to succeed. And to succeed with confidence because you have it covered.

It means that if you can look at a problem from lots of different angles and be prepared to be flexible about the way you solve that problem you will come away from the situation as a winner.  Being flexible creates more choices and the more choices you have about a problem, the more likely you are to come up with a solution.

In NLP one of the main ‘pre-suppositions’ as they are called, is that “The person with the most flexibility will have the most success”. I’m not talking feet behind your head while you walk on your fingertips flexibility – though I guess that’s always a plus with a sport like skating! – I’m talking mental flexibility.

If something unexpected happens do you:

  1. Moan and whinge and feel like the world has ended?
  2. Go into rabbit-caught-in-headlights frozen mode?
  3. Shrug your shoulders and swing into action with Plan B?

Let’s test it out…

1.  You’re en route to a competition and you hit traffic. There’s no chance you’ll get there on time for your event. Do you:

  1. hyperventilate and have a tantrum and get very, very stressed?
  2. shrug it off and make a plan for the next competition instead?

2.  There’s a tear in your sparkly, expensive competition outfit and you only notice it on the morning of your competition. Do you:

  1. throw a tantrum and convince yourself that the judges will mark you down because you’re not wearing your ‘proper’ outfit for the music;
  2. think, “oh well I’ll have to wear the spare one”

3.  Your little brother has been playing up at school and the teacher insists on talking to your mum so she can’t get you to the rink for practice one evening.  Do you:

  1. storm up to your room in a sulk, plotting to take it out on your brother later
  2. go and listen to some Ice Cool Confidence mindset audios and visualise your practice instead

If your answers were mostly ‘A’s it’s pretty clear that you’re not that flexible. Mental flexibility means thinking on your feet. Acting quickly with a calm and measured response when something unexpected happens. Making the best out of the situation.

If instead you allow yourself to get upset and angry at your situation you will simply get more and more stressed and this only makes the situation worse for you. Your body will be filled with cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’), which seriously impedes your ability to skate properly and affects your ability to think straight.

People with a fixed mindset are often the least flexible in their outlook. They have fears – afraid of looking ‘silly’ in front of others so they don’t want to try that new jump which they can’t yet do. Afraid that if they have to work really hard at something, then it must mean they’re not as talented as people think they are.

People with a growth mindset on the other hand are always open to learning new things, to widen their horizons and test themselves continuously to stretch their limits. That’s flexibility too.

Being flexible allows you to think clearly in challenging situations – it’s imperative for a nurse or a paramedic – and it’s a great asset when you’re skating your programme and miss a combination jump, giving you the opportunity to tack a jump on to the end of another one instead. But you can only think clearly when you are calm and confident and prepared to be flexible – for a successful outcome.

(Photo Copyright: tonobalaguer/123RF Stock Photo)