Slinky or Coiled Spring?

During the London Olympics, there was a tweet along the lines that gymnasts must be born with a slinky inside them and it’s an idea that really stayed with me.

I’m especially struck by the idea that a slinky is a coiled spring and yet the two descriptions conjure up different things for me.  The slinky toy is synonymous with fluid, effortless movement, even grace. A coiled spring on the other hand implies restriction and pent-up energy that, if released, would be propelled forward at speed.  Both are forms of the same basic structure but release their potential energy differently. Both have their value depending on their purpose and application.

So I wonder which would best describe you – a slinky moving with ease and grace or a coiled spring, tense and ready to burst out?

How does the potential energy inside of you show up?  Are you holding it in your body, creating tension in your muscles, pushing it down, or are you relaxed and at ease.  How do you express that energy externally, in your communication, through your actions? Most of all is it working for you and the people around you?

If it isn’t, how would it be to have greater flexibility and ease in the way you express yourself? To leverage your potential energy appropriately to meet the needs of the situation?   What would be possible?

I often meet people who believe they have no choice in how they act, it’s just the way they are.  To an extent there is some truth in that.  Yet  we do have a choice about we feel and to choose our response.   As Viktor Frankl is often quoted, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

The thing is we only have a choice if we are aware of it.  Caught up in habitual patterns of thinking and behaviour it may feel elusive.  But it isn’t.

The starting point is to understand how you are naturally wired by identifying your innate talents – your enduring patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour. These patterns, describe your unique brand of potential and how it needs to be expressed so you can be at your best and play to your strengths.

Greater understanding of your strengths, and particularly the needs of your strengths, creates a wider choice of action. That means less frustration, less tension.  As self-awareness grows so does the ability to communicate more effectively and develop a more flexible  respone to situations.

So, more slinky, less coiled spring.