Have you ever met someone who was so set on their opinions that they absolutely refuse to consider things from other people’s points of view? Or someone that refused to change even things around the person were changing. More often than not, people like that are rigid in their thinking – or you can say they are not flexible thinkers.
What’s flexible thinking? Flexible thinking refers to the extent to which an individual can adapt with change, and think about problems in new ways. It’s the ability to be able to come up with a Plan B, C and D when your Plan A isn’t working.
It is also a very important social skill that will help you get along well with people, improve your outlook about life, solve problems more effectively and make you a very great team player.
A Few Pointers To Check If You Are A Flexible Thinker
1. You see things from other people’s perspectives: Flexible thinkers don’t assume that the way they see things is the way every other person must see it. They are open to new perspectives and ideas from other people. I should also add that seeing things from people’s perspectives can only begin when you have lost the need to always be right.
2. You are aware of your own biases: We all have thinking biases that influence our decisions. For example, you might be prejudiced against certain tribes and genders and this definitely will have an impact on your decisions. Flexible thinkers are able to recognize their own biases and check within themselves to be sure that they are not making decisions that are driven by those biases.
3. You consider situational and personality explanations when looking at behavior: People’s actions are a sum of both situational and personality factors, and flexible thinkers understand this. For example, the fact that your partner hasn’t gotten you the gift you asked for may not be because she is stingy (personality), it may be because they are just stressed out from work and have forgotten (situational). And this habit of looking at both situation and personality will help you in observing your own behavior too.
4. You recognize the difference between facts and opinions: In our communications within ourselves and with other people, we often come across different statements which can be differentiated as either facts or opinions. Facts refers to information that can be verified with evidence while opinions are simply statements that expresses an individual’s personal feeling about an issue. Flexible thinkers recognize this difference and do not take it to heart when people express their opinions, even when you don’t agree with them. For example, your boss saying “you are stupid” is simply an opinion and doesn’t have to get you upset.
5. You are curious. Flexible thinkers are curious people and always want to learn something new when they are exposed to a new event or problem. They are open to new information and don’t mind other options being introduced.
I’m certain that by this point, you have begun to form an impression as to whether you are a flexible thinker or not. To learn more about developing flexible thinking, read the concluding part of this post here.
I hope this helps you.