Thunderous cheers in a baseball stadium packed with 10,000 strong enthusiastic fans. The crowd goes wild! It is the last inning, the scores are tied, and there is only just one play left that will determine a winner. Eyes begin to shift their focus to three important people on the field: the pitcher, the batter, and of course, the catcher.


Imagine you are the catcher now, crouching behind the home plate, gauging the batter’s condition and making the final decision to use the pitcher’s best pitch to win this game – a straight fastball. You give the signal to the pitcher, the pitcher acknowledges it, and slowly begins to rotate his hips, then his shoulders, before fluidly extending his arm to throw a fastball. Standard procedure.


But in that split second, you notice a slight change in his usual flow and the ball slips out of the pitcher’s hand; the trajectory of the ball instantly changes and curves away from the intended path. You have little idea where the ball will now land.


You have less than a millisecond to decide on your next step. What will you do?


Although this question may create the impression that you have many choices available, the truth is that there’s only one single choice to make.


Putting yourself back into the shoes of the catcher, you will logically, without a doubt, shift your current hand’s position to accommodate to where the ball will likely be spinning towards, and catch the winning pitch.


This may seem like an easy thing to do, but for many baseball games and baseball catchers, the reality is far from it. Many teams get defeated just by a change of conditions.


Indeed, how comfortable or how willing would one be to make that change, especially if the consequences are huge?


If you feel an internal sense of resistance in shifting your current position to catch the ball, you likely belong to the First-Third of the Flexibility spectrum or the “Focused End”, where you generally prefer a defined situation and keep to a decision once it has been made.


On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you feel totally comfortable with the last minute change, you likely belong to the Third-Third Flexibility spectrum or the “Accommodating End” where you are usually open to changes, new suggestions and feel comfortable even in an ambiguous situation where no decision is made.


Of course, there is one more group where either end works, depending on the context or situation one is in. Here, you likely belong to the Second-Third of the Flexibility spectrum or the “It-depends” group.


Regardless of which part of the spectrum you belong to, you will have to bear the consequences when you make the choice.


We often seek for the perfect answer but as we will gradually come to realise, there isn’t one. The decision we make depends on how ready we are to pay the price that comes with it.


How can we best prepare ourselves to help us be ready to catch life’s “curveball” then?


1. Be conscious of your own preferences

Be it First-Third, Second-Third or Third-Third on the Flexibility spectrum, recognise it and be aware of it when you are making your decisions. Ask yourself how it makes you feel when having to decide.


2. Be a master of your preferences and stretch it every day!

Stretch your preferences often so that it will be your ally when you need it most. Allowing yourself to flex your behaviours consistently can help prepare you when a need arises or when the unexpected occurs. Imagine it like a rubber band or a motor track that needs oiling. The more often you do it, the less energy you need to get the engine running.


3. Be open to changes

Keep an open mind. Recognise and acknowledge the emotions that come along with it. Learn to let it go. Change is happening every day, let it be your new constant. Sometimes, you need to be firm and focused. At other times, change is needed. Be open that circumstances may not always be in your favour, or that others exhibit different appetites of change than you do. Be open.

As like in baseball, life has its many curveballs. How will you now respond to changes?

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