My family and I had the blessing of going on an Antarctic Expedition in late February.  As one would say, “A Trip of a Lifetime” to be able to  set foot on the “7th Continent”.  We boarded Atlas Ocean Voyages World Traveller on February 27, 2023, for 9 days to explore the Shetland Islands and other parts of Antarctica.   On this type of cruise, there are no ports where the ship could dock.  For 5 days, it was “Captain’s Choice” as to where to we would go.  This was due to the uncertainty of weather and water conditions in Antarctica.  The first days on ship were spent with briefing from the Expedition Staff to explain the processes of going ashore, zodiac cruising, safety measures and information about the marine life in the area.

The first mind-set or “Spirit of the Voyage” was 1. Flexibility, 2. Flexibility and 3. Flexibility.  This gained a few laughs from the passengers though we would have to remember it throughout the cruise.  At times, the flexibility was joyous – we arrived early to Antarctica and were able to go ashore an extra time.  Another time, it was a bit disappointing – the weather changed quickly and became unsafe which cut short our Zodiac Cruise. 

One time, the disappointment found unexpected experiences: we could not go ashore due to the landing zone being blocked with ice.  Our landing would be replaced by a cruise around the Iceberg Graveyard.  There were beautiful icebergs of all shapes and colors.  The unexpected bonus was a leopard seal who followed our Zodiac for some time, playing in the bubbles and circling the boat.  We were open to these wonderful experiences because we had the flexibility to adapt to the changes and adjust our expectations.

Flexibility requires change which can be difficult.  There are ways to process change then being flexible becomes easier. 

  • Change your expectations.  When we go into a situation with a certain picture of how things should be, it is disappointing when the results are not as we expected.  Become aware of why you are not being flexible then adapt to the situation at hand.
  • Take a moment to process the change before responding.  This could mean asking questions about the change or asking for time to process the change.  When there is an understanding of the change, it is easier to be flexible. 
  • Change your perspective.  Look at the situation from a different point of view.  Stephen Covey calls this the “Paradigm Shift.”  Change the way that you perceive something by looking at it from a different viewpoint.  Changing your perspective can be very powerful for better understanding.

Next time that you are struggling with an unexpected change, consider how you can be flexible.  How you adapt can effect your attitude and behavior.  This in turn effects our relationships with others.  This will result in a happier, more peaceful life.

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