Thoughtful Thursdays: Be Flexible Under Pressure – Bend Instead of Resisting
By Curtis Aiken.
One day many years ago, a new diving board was installed at a local swimming pool. It was predominantly light and at peace just sitting there being a diving board. At first when it was brand new, it was very flexible. People of all shapes and sizes would walk out to the edge of the diving board and spring into the water below. This was okay to the diving board as it was still young and was still learning which people felt okay and which ones felt too heavy.
After a few years, the diving board became a little less flexible and more rigid. People of all shapes and sizes still came along and bounced off the board and into the pool but the diving board had life experience by now and it knew what it liked and what it didn’t like. When light people came along, it happily bent and flexed to the full extent required; it was more than happy to accommodate light people. When heavy people came along, however, the diving board seized up and refused to bend despite the weight bearing down on it.
With all its might, it would hold its position, as strong and unbending as a plank of wood, in the hope that heavy people would stop coming. They never did stop coming though, because what we resist persists. The diving board hurt from being so rigid; it was in pain from tip to toe. One day a very heavy man stepped on to the board and again, the board held strong. But from all the years of acting so strong in its mind, the board had become weaker in its body.
As the heavy person leaped, the board cracked – it just couldn’t take the stress anymore. The diving board was out of action.
Within a few days, the diving board was replaced with another and it was leaned up against a nearby fence where it had a view of the whole pool area, including a view of the replacement diving board. It watched as a heavy person walked to the tip of the replacement board, leaped high in the air and came down heavily on to the replacement board which flexed as far as it possibly could, under the weight. It then launched the man high in the air and far away into the pool.
The broken board shrieked with amazement. “How did you do that?” it asked. “That person was even heavier than the one that broke me. Not only that, but you aren’t even brand new. You look like you have been around long enough to see more divers than a shallow shipwreck.”
“Oh,” responded the replacement diving board. “The secret to living a long and healthy life is to be flexible with both your body and your mind. Bending with whatever challenges life throws your away teaches you to be flexible and you’ll become stronger through every challenge rather than weaker and weaker until you can take no more of the stress, and you break.”
How can you practice being more flexible in your life? Being rigid and stuck in our ways takes its toll on our minds and bodies over time. In what areas of your life can you lighten up? Can you be more flexible with old beliefs that aren’t actually universal truths but rather are just beliefs you have developed over the years?
Did people or circumstances ever create stress in your life because you were unwilling to bend and flex when something came your way you didn’t like or agree with? Do your beliefs still serve you or have you been holding on to your beliefs for so long they are just a part of who you are and you don’t question or review them? Is your life in a place you are happy with after all these years? If not, perhaps your beliefs about how the world works, or should work, is the reason why it is not working in your favour. Are your beliefs limiting your potential and creating stress in your life?
Image Credit: Yinisport
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