One of life’s great skills is knowing how to make small, needed adjustments. Inflexibility is the enemy of success. This applies to business, relationships, and in your personal development.
You have to learn how to bend—to roll with the punches, or you’ll be miserable.
I'm not speaking of your deepest-held moral values. Those are non-negotiable. Everything else should be up for discussion.
In my years as an employer, mentor, and leader, I've had the opportunity to work with hundreds of people, on all levels of education and experience.
I've directly reported to a CEO, and I've been the CEO. I've had to develop lawyers, managers, and leaders from multiple backgrounds.
I place the folks I’ve worked with in two general bins: The successful and the unsuccessful.
The successful people were open-minded. They may have held strong opinions about methods, goals, or approaches, but they could be convinced otherwise.
If you showed them a compelling case for a better way of tackling a problem, they listened, absorbed the data, and then adjusted.
The unsuccessful batch was always the opposite.
These folks were typically married to a particular viewpoint or way of doing things. Even when it was clear that their way would not work, or that the status quo needed to be changed, they remained dug in.
In order to move some of them along, I provided training, personal mentorship, and positive feedback.
This rarely worked. They would listen intently, take the training, nod their heads in agreement, and then go back to doing whatever they were doing before. They were irreparably inflexible.
And in life, the inflexible usually loses.
Even skyscrapers are designed to bend. Standing rigid in the wind will cause a rupture. Leaning a little keeps the structure intact.
As we near the end of one year and the beginning of another, we have the opportunity to reflect and to project.
We reflect by looking in the rearview mirror at the months behind us.
We project by looking at what lies ahead.
This is an excellent time to reassess your journey. Ask yourself questions like:
Where have I been and where am I going?
What’s working and what’s not?
What can be tweaked or maybe discarded altogether?
As a creator, I follow and support many other creators. Several of them have adopted a “build in public” methodology.
This means they are building their businesses in the open, typically through social media, sharing their tragedies and triumphs.
Some of this information is extremely helpful, and I’ve learned a bunch from these creators. I’ve sampled their methods and strategies.
Where I’ve failed is in comparing myself to others.
In reflection, I can see it’s unwise to compare myself to other creators. Comparison often leads to self-doubt and negativity.
My job is to be me. Comparing myself to others is silly; even the Bible says so.
I have a physical exam each year.
My doctor always expresses surprise at my resting heart rate. He says it resembles that of a long-distance runner or professional athlete.
The question is typically something like, “What exercises have you been doing?”
To be candid, I’m a walker; with varying degrees of consistency over the years. But I always feel sheepish pretending that my exercise routine is what’s driving the heart rate result.
On the other hand, I believe my physical health is completely related to my mental well-being. My vital signs have been strong through the years because I’ve mastered the skill of making small adjustments in life.
I refuse to allow anything—my goals, dreams, plans, methods, investments (good or bad), mistakes, shortcomings, successes, or failures—to box me in.
When I feel the walls crashing, I make a small adjustment and keep moving. If something isn’t working, I tweak it. If I must move on, I do so without regret.
This keeps me healthy, mentally, and physically. It keeps me in a state of calm.
I’ve seen too many people marry inflexible positions to the death—literally—not to mention grudges, bitterness, and lack of forgiveness.
From my perspective, life is too short for that.
Master the mental game of success by:
✅ Keeping an open mind to possibilities.
✅ Reflecting on where you’ve been and projecting on where you’re going.
✅ Avoiding unhealthy comparisons to others.
✅ Being authentically you.
✅ Allowing yourself to make adjustments wherever needed.