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Flexibility: the quality of being adaptable

Flexibility: a measure of the ability to respond to changes in demand

   1. Commitment
   2. An Open Mind
   3. Persistence
   4. Flexibility
   5. Faith
   6. Thankfulness
   7. Passion

It is a sound NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) principle that to become successful, we need to notice what is working, and what is not, and be prepared to change our approach in order to get what we want - that is the essence of flexibility.

A wise person once said, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." That is a wonderfully true statement. In other words, if you continue doing exactly what you are now doing, then don't be surprised when you don't see any increase or change in your results.

It is the law of cause-and-effect in operation. The results you are now getting (effects) are the product of the causes (efforts) you have set in motion sometime in the past. To get greater benefits in the future, you need to change what you are doing in the present in order to produce them.

Whilst persistence is an important quality, persistence without flexibility can indeed be futile because, without some flexibility in your approach, you could end up trying to move an immovable object for the rest of your life. The willingness to constantly change what we are now doing and to also demonstrate persistence is what gets us around seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

So notice exactly what is working for you and notice what is not. Change your approach in some way - you will need to brainstorm various approaches - then continue to observe. But, by continually changing your approach and finding what works and what doesn't, you will literally become unstoppable.

As an example, consider the story of Kevin Keegan, the famous English footballer (soccer) and eventually, manager of the English national team. Kevin was told that he would never become a footballer because he was not talented enough, he was not strong enough and he was too small.

It would have been easy enough for him to just give up, after all, these people telling him he would never make it were all professionals. Surely they should have known what they were talking about. What did Kevin actually do? Well there was nothing he could do about his height, so he worked on what he could. He worked on his physique until he built a strong, powerful frame and he also worked on his basic ball skills.

After several trials, he was eventually signed as an apprentice for Scunthorpe United in 1967. He became a full professional twelve months later and, in 1971, moved to Liverpool F.C. where he played on the winning team in the F.A. Cup final (1974), the European Cup final (1977) and the UEFA Cup finals (1973 and 1976). He was also in the Liverpool team that won the Football League First Division title in two seasons (1972-3 and 1976-7).

Kevin eventually became the captain of England, winning 63 international caps between 1972 and 1982, and he became European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979. He did it all by being flexible in his approach and persistent in the face of unfavourable odds.

Sometimes, I tell Kevin's story at my Workshop events and sometimes people will say something like this:

"What about all the people who tried and tried but still never made it?"

My answer is that Kevin would also have been another statistic along with the rest of them if he had not demonstrated these qualities. Kevin was a winner and you too can become a winner. To become a winner, you need to internalise the seven qualities we are discussing.

If you really want success, in whatever field of endeavour you are pursuing, you can have it - yes you can! But you need to be prepared to work for it - to do whatever it takes. Finding out and then doing whatever it takes, is the quality of flexibility.

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