Beau and Lauryn Carpenter Picture Beau Carpenter

Flexible vs. Loose

October 7th, 2019

You can be flexible without being loose.

Flexible - capable of bending easily without breaking

Loose - not firmly fixed in place

Several adjectives could describe the way people approach work and life. You could be:

Each description comes with challenges. Two other adjectives are close, but not necessarily the same.

I would define a flexible approach as one where there are norms, processes, and planning. Things are generally structured and orderly. There's a sense of calm about day to day activities. When something out of the ordinary happens, regular operations bend to accommodate the new stress. Then if the new stressor is permanent, it creates a revised pattern of productivity and order.

A loose approach has little sense of order or direction. There are few if any regular disciplines. You'll find many good intentions, but weak planning to follow through on those intentions.

A flexible approach can become a loose approach. Flexibility returns to shape after a stressor. Loose gets more and more messy with each successive stress.

A spring is flexible; it serves a purpose. A coil of rope is loose; it just gets knotted up.