10/03 The power of flexibility
Today I’d like to discuss the flexibility issue. The flexibility of airplane’s wings in turbulence, the flexibility of our psyche, and how everything is connected.
Here is a part of an email I’ve received: «Alex, we have fear of flying courses in Austria, but I’ve been hesitant to take it for seven years since I have no absolute guarantee that it will help me for sure.»
Well, indeed, there are no guarantees. But where do we have any guarantees?
None, nowhere and nothing is guaranteed. Most people can accept this fact. There is no absolute guarantee of success after taking the course. There are no absolute certainties of security. Neither on the plane nor on the street. And a flexible psyche realizes that any risk or safety is never absolute.
Look at the airplane’s wing in turbulence. It shakes. «Horror» may be the immediate association for many. But no. It is not a «horror», and it is nothing except the flexibility of the wing that allows it to be strong. Flexible forms withstand more load than those which are rigid. It’s true concerning the wing of the plane, and the same applies to the human psyche.
Another real life story:
My extended family, a married couple, who have lived together for 13 years. One «perfect» day, a woman fell in love with another man. Sometimes, you know, it happens. But the issue now is not about her, it’s about her husband. Being an excellent family man, he had very clear, unambiguous view of family life. 100% view. Kind of «Black or White» thinking.
Every day, exactly at 8:00 am he had to wake his son, kiss him, make some sandwiches to take to school. Meet him after school, take him to the gym, read a book before going to bed. He was very proud of statements like: «I’ll do everything for my family», «Family is everything in my life», «I’ll never have another relationship», etc.
Can you imagine what a blow it was for him to learn about his wife’s romance? Of course, it could be a disaster to all. But the flexible mind realizes that life is not straightforward. It is mostly unpredictable, and does not always meet our expectations of it. There is always more than one possible outcome to dilemas in reality. A flexible mind allows to adapt quickly to immediate situations and to move on, living normal life and accepting it for what it is. The flexible mind is able to build new relationships, and to use past experiences for better coping with whatever the future might bring.
The psyche that is not flexible — gets broken. Exactly as the airplane’s wing would be broken in turbulence if it wasn’t flexible.
Unfortunately, this is what happened to him. I’m not going to go into details, but trust me, a 40-year-old man with a crushed personality is not a pleasant scene.
Only mental flexibility allows our psychology to be strong. People with fear of flying usually do not have sufficiently flexible minds. They tend to perfectionism, constant high demands and self-criticism. High demands not only from themselves but also from people around them. Specific claims even to the world around, as it «MUST» be specific, as THEY want the world to be. Black or white thinking. Everything that is not entirely white is totally black. This lack of flexibility often leads to panic attacks, obsessions, phobias and other psychological disorders.
The lack of mental flexibility was genetically imposed upon us, and often it can be reinforced with upbringing issues. But flexibility can be improved.
During fear of flying treatment courses we attach great importance to aviation, but even more — to psychology. That’s why many of our graduates say: «The course has changed my life.» And, believe me, it’s relating not only to airplanes. Check this story among many others at TrustPilot, contact me with your story and join ex-fearful fliers club soon.