The inspiration for this particular blog post comes from the last two books I have read, Flip Thinking (The Life-Changing Art of Turning Problems into Opportunities) by Berthold Gunster, and Emotional Ignorance by Dr Dean Burnett. Dr Burnett, a neuroscientist, wrote this book because, when his dad died unexpectedly during Covid, he was deeply disturbed by the fact that he was unable to openly express his emotions. He describes his experience of grief as, "being like an experienced mechanic trapped in a speeding car, with no brakes, on the motorway."
He suddenly realized how little he really knew about his emotions. So he set about doing extensive research. At the end of this rivetting book, he says, "I can't guarantee I'll never experience such emotional turmoil again. But if I do, I'll be less ignorant about it...I'll be willing to work with my emotions, rather than try to resist or control them."
The other book, Flip Thinking, is an equally rivetting one in which the author explains the source of his creative "Yes-and" philosophy as a response to those doomsayers who respond to any new idea with, "Yes-but..."
After reading these two books, I found myself wanting to know more about our innate desire to control what happens (or doesn't happen) to us, the role that our thoughts, feelings and emotions play in our lives and how to cultivate a greater degree of adaptability.
"An incessant need for control may become overwhelming and exhausting, wreaking havoc on relationships, careers and our overall quality of life." The desire to control is deeply rooted in the fear of something taking place that is beyond our control. Developing a sharp sense of self-awareness instead, enables us to navigate our way more effectively through life's ups and downs.
What if we were to learn how to adapt to our changing circumstances? Firstly, we need to have an open mind and be willing to leave our comfort zones to learn new things. The best way to develop this trait, is to practise it every day in small, non-threatening ways.
Adaptable people are not thrown by the unexpected. They are willing to make mistakes and to learn from others. They are good listeners, ask questions and are resilient. They are creative and innovative. They refrain from complaining or making assumptions.
"Adaptability is more than being flexible. It is being open to things... It is about continually developing more of what we are truly capable of and living up to our potential."
"The stretch zone, just outside your comfort zone, is the best place to be. This is where learning and growth happen...it can feel a little uncomfortable because you might be stretching yourself in new and different ways, but you're still able to manage. It's not easy but not impossibly hard either."
I hope that you're currently in "the stretch zone." After all, nothing exciting happens in "the comfort zone" and "the panic zone" has such a detrimental effect on our heath and well-being.
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