Why we need to be like palm trees

Why we need to be like palm trees

The other morning I was doing my usual walk along the river. I admired a group of skinny palm trees reaching high into the sky. I started wondering how something so fragile stood up to the big storms we have had so far this winter.

The answer, the palm tree is flexible and bends with the wind and bounces back up again after the storm.

Palm trees flex with strong wind

Now compare that with an oak tree. They are impressive and strong, but at the same time rigid and inflexible. When a storm comes, the oak tree doesn’t bend and flex with the wind so big branches fall off. If the winds are really strong the oak tree may blow over.

So what does palm and oak trees got to do with us? There are always challenges and obstacles (storms) that come up along our life journey.

It’s true that we need storms so we can learn and grow more resilient. But equally true, life is unpredictable so we need to be flexible like a palm tree. We need to become adaptable to any situation so we can survive and ultimately thrive in turbulent times.

Especially during these times, is being rigid, closed minded and unyielding going to work best? Or, is being flexible, open minded and adaptable the better approach. In other words, the oak tree or the palm tree.

As I’ve got older and a little wiser, I think, I’m more bendy like a palm tree. Being a solid rigid oak is just too hard a fight and in a big storm, I could be the one that breaks.

Here are my Five Tips for being flexible like a palm tree.

1. Recognise that brute force is not always going to work when overcoming life’s unpredictable obstacles.

2. Don’t panic. When life throws up a challenge, think before you leap. I like to sit or walk somewhere in nature and mull over the problem with a open mind. Usually a solution will present its self.

“Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.” Thomas Dewar

3. There’s no set pathway when it comes to achieving goals. If you are open and flexible you can overcome obstacles in your way by taking a new path towards your goal.

4. Ask questions and avoid rigid thinking. Ask yourself how else can I achieve my goal or is there another way around this or what else can I do to progress this situation in a positive way.

5. Nothing teaches you more about flexibility and how to overcome obstacles than travelling in unfamiliar places. Skills learnt from travelling are transferable in all walks of life. Go to a tropical island where palm trees are a constant reminder.

So are you a palm tree or an oak tree?