The ability to change and adapt to unforeseen and unpleasant situations without going nuts or “blowing holes” in everyone around you, is known as flexibility. Flexibility is closely linked with emotional intelligence, which helps a person replace their inveterate responses to various emotions with those of a more rational and beneficial nature. (For more information on developing emotional intelligence see Lesson IX: Emotion and Intelligence from The Catalyst of Confidence.) Certainly flexibility has its personal advantages, such as reduced stress, increased peace of mind, and less reliance on emotional snap-judgments. But what is often overlooked about flexibility is that it helps a person be more likeable.
Consider first the inflexible person. Inflexible people are unable to handle things without losing their emotional balance. When something of an unpleasant nature reveals itself—they overreact, as if the world is about to end. Those who associate with (whether by personal choice or professional obligation) inflexible people tend to find themselves “walking on eggshells” or thinking things like “so-and-so can't handle anything,” or “I better not bring this up—who knows what will happen if I do.” In addition, such things do not occur merely some of the time, but rather occur more often than not. As a result, not only are the “inflexible one's” running around stressed out and sick to their stomachs, but so are many of those who have to deal with them. Such an atmosphere creates a kind of communication breakdown that can result in added problems and complexities, and ultimately spiral out of control. Needless to say, inflexible people—at least insofar as they are inflexible—are not well liked by their peers.
In contradistinction, flexible people have learned to respond to the unforeseen and unpleasant in ways that do not adversely affect how they handle themselves and those around them. Of course they don't want things to go wrong, they just don't allow such things to catch them emotionally off guard when they do. They are able to maintain calmness and poise, despite what may be happening, and this naturally enables those who closely associate with them to keep communication open and relax in their presence. It should be no surprise that, while people may quietly despise the inflexibility of others, they openly admire and sincerely appreciate those who are flexible.