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Lessons from a willow tree: success requires flexibility

Posted Feb 13 2009 5:21pm


Chicago Botanic Garden - Kirsten Harrell

I love willow trees. They look so graceful as they bend and sway in the wind. Their branches are very flexible which helps them move with the wind rather than snapping from the force of the wind. I think we can learn a lot of this. Flexibility is a key to success.

Are you flexible enough to bend with life’s challenges? Or are you more rigid and attached to certain things, opinions, and outcomes? When things change, are you able to adjust and go with the flow? Or do you feel overly stressed by changes and detours on the road of life?

Holding on to old ideas, patterns, and opinions simply because they are comfortable is a sign of inflexibility. This type of rigidity can hold you back and keep you from achieving your goals. Rather than trying to control everything, try letting the process of life unfold in its own way and its own timing. Success requires mental flexibility.

Success requires you to remain open to new possibilities and new ideas that can come from change. Being flexible involves learning how to detach – detach from opinions, ideas, and outcomes.

This week, practice being flexible. When something unexpected occurs, remain open to the world of new possibilities. Bend with the winds of change. Go with the flow and enjoy the process. Look at the new opportunities that are hidden within the changes that come your way. With a little practice you can learn to be more flexible and adaptable – you can learn to bend like the willow tree.

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