How Adaptable Are You?

No one wants to be rigid and inflexible. Becoming a “control freak” alienates us from others and produces unnecessary stress for us and everyone else around.Surely, organization and consistency are valuable. So, how of we negotiate balance? It’s as simple as 1-2-3!

In his book, The Platinum Rule, Dr. Michael O’Connor suggests that two characteristics are necessary if we are to become adaptable citizens: flexibility and versatility.

As a goat owner, I have observed the wonderful gift cloven hooves afford my goats. Here’s how.

  1. Flexibility: Two digits of each hoof move independently for balance and safely negotiating irregular terrain. For instance, a steep cliff can be mounted by the upper “toe” gripping the higher ground and the lower “toe” hugging the slightly lower surface. One rarely sees goats “sliding” or off-balance. They can thank their cloven hooves.
  2. Versatility seems to be produced by an additional component found in between the hard outer covering of each hoof (called the horn or hoof wall). This amazing component is called the hoof sole. Versatility is a result of two hard surfaces working together with one soft presence. A kind of “suction cup” footing results.

So, let’s spell it out!


Identify your HARD LINES! Neglect and thoughtlessness can produce overgrown hooves which are painful and dangerous.

Define your non-negotiables. What are you absolutely committed to? Once this is determined, you must begin cleaning and trimming away everything else. (For me, this is usually tasks that waste time or distract me from priorities.)


Lose the HIGH HEELS! Unlike the less-than-comfortable spikes we sometimes wear to look sexy or sophisticated, goats grow heels behind their hooves when they are under-exercised or inhabiting a mushy environment.

  • Exercise #1: If the most important thing to me is ______, then my schedule will reflect it. Identify changes to be made.
  • Exercise #2: How does my second “non-negotiable” work with the first? Are they of equal priority or should one defer to the other? What does this look like?
  • Exercise #3: In the past 24 hours, what “priority” would be reflected by the way I have spent my time? Am I acting on what I say is most important to me?


Care for your SOLE!

Hidden within the visible external hard trappings of the hoof resides the tender, yet vital element called the sole. Neglect can make it invisible and seemingly lifeless, but don’t dismiss it. Take the time to clean away the dirt and slowly slice away at the hard, dead layer until the live, pinkish sole emerges.

This “sole” or “soul” is a tremendous asset when attempting to implement those balanced life strategies. A healthy soul makes us empathetic instead of competitive, tolerant instead of rigid, positive instead of grumpy.

None of us want to be as stubborn as a mule! He may be led to a point and then he digs in his heels!

Remember the steps demonstrated by the hooves of those goats. Healthy feet may make us flexible, yet committed women who make a difference!

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