"Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds. I have always kept an open mind, a flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of the intelligent search for truth." - Malcom X
"The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers." - Brian Greene
Being flexible in a physical sense is something we understand to be healthy for us and helps us to avoid injury. Yet the idea of mental flexibility is not often discussed, much less practiced as we grow up.
Many people develop a rigid and immobile view of how the world works, how things are, and this type of mindset leaves very little room for discovery or personal growth.
Malcom’s comment provides a very nice context for this idea of the evolution of thinking. He was a man with very strong convictions. His impact on the world left no doubt of that. However, even in his strong belief there was the ability to flex enough for new information to come in and expand his own understanding. Eventually this caused a shift in his direction and belief.
Brian Greene highlights another challenge of viewing the world with a preset framework. You may be asking good questions, ones that could lead to insights and growth, but without a flexible mind the answers might not have a place to fit.
Doing the work to grow without the room to grow certainly seems counterproductive.
Maintaining flexibility as we grow older is not always an easy process – physically or mentally. If we keep in mind the benefits for our health and happiness then finding ways to incorporate daily stretching will be a lot easier. Can you think of stretching yourself each day? There’s your first stretch!