The flight information scrolled across the blue screens and delays were piped through the speaker system echoing throughout the airport lounge. I was relaxed, coffee in hand, computer on my lap, and a view of idling airplanes in front of me. My flight was delayed again. The grumblings of other passengers ruminated throughout the lounge; some were incensed at such an inconvenience, others simply exhausted and subservient. I though, was unfazed. Flying in the middle of winter is never a guarantee of on-time flights, so I was prepared. Even though this trip was planned months in advance, I knew I had to be flexible or I’d never make it. I couldn’t help but wonder why these people were so upset. If they weren’t so rigid in their plans they’d adjust to the obstacles thrown at them. Life is never predicable and no path is always a straight one.
The most challenging aspect of setting goals is maintaining the path to reach them. Too many people set very rigid goals and actions. Unfortunately, this leads to failure or frustration at the first sign of set back. People become so ingrained in following the path they set for themselves that they are unable to adjust when an obstacle is in their way.
How can you overcome these challenges? Lean on the Marco Polo effect. His journeys have taught us a profound lesson, whereby the choices we make direct our actions toward our goal and we adjust our expectations about how close or far away we are in attaining the goal. The closer we get to our goal the more energized we become. We can ‘feel’ it and this feeling propels us to want to do everything we can to achieve it.
Marco Polo considered himself to be a wayfarer not an explorer and his prime motivation for discovery was simply curiosity. Not to mention that his in his quests he established new and prosperous trading routes betweenEuropeandAsia. It was his penchant for flexibility in achieving his goals that allowed him to become so successful. We can exploit flexibility by training our mind to control our perception of where we are at on the road to achieve our goals. By focusing on our perception, we can implicitly develop plain, simple, and effectively ways to overcome obstacles in our way.
Have you set your path to flexibility?
Feel free to share your answer in the comments.