FAQ - How do I better understand (and feel) what is Mental Flexibility beyond dealing with "competing demands"?
Mental flexibility refers to the ability to adapt, change perspectives, and approach situations from different angles. Here are some ways that might show up:
- Open-mindedness: Being open to new ideas, opinions, and perspectives, even if they differ from your own. This involves considering alternative viewpoints and being willing to change your beliefs or opinions when presented with new evidence or information.
- Problem-solving: Approaching problems or challenges from different angles and considering various solutions. A mentally flexible person can think creatively and explore multiple options before settling on a particular course of action.
- Comfortable being uncomfortable, and curious: being able to adjust to new situations, environments, or changes in circumstances. This involves being comfortable with uncertainty and being able to quickly identify new plans or strategies as needed.
- Cognitive shifting: Switching between different tasks or thought processes efficiently. This includes being able to shift attention, switch between different topics, or change focus when necessary.
- Perspective-taking: The ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and see things from their point of view. This skill allows you to empathize with others, understand their feelings and motivations, and communicate effectively.
- Letting go of control: Being able to relinquish control when necessary and accept that not everything can be managed or planned. This involves being adaptable and comfortable with ambiguity or unpredictability.
- Creativity: Generating novel and unique ideas, concepts, or solutions. Mental flexibility allows you to think outside the box, make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, and approach problems with innovative strategies.
- Learning agility: Being able to acquire new knowledge, skills, or information quickly and efficiently. This involves being open to learning, adapting to new technologies or methodologies, and continuously seeking growth and improvement.
Here are some examples:
- When you're getting ready to have breakfast and you realize that there's no milk left, you can think about other options instead of getting mad and going on without eating.
- If your good friend stops talking to you, mental flexibility helps you think about why this may be.
- Adapting to a new work environment when starting a new job (new values, people, processes, etc) - to consider that there are other ways business gets done, not just the way you did it in your previous job.
- Moving between topics in a conversation, such as transitioning from an economic discussion to art - being curious about it and willing to engage.
- Working on group projects with different colleagues, requiring collaboration and understanding of diverse perspectives and needs
- Solving a problem using different strategies or methods.
Mental flexibility is a skill that can be developed and enhanced with practice and a willingness to embrace new perspectives and ideas.