“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
In fitness and exercise stretching is the key to preventing injury and enabling your body to perform at an optimal level. It is a very intentional practice that, if skipped, leads to stiff and sore muscles, sub-optimum performances and potential injuries later. Stretching is a key activity because it enables the future, but you have to choose to do it.
I think that growing through our experiences in life requires the same intentional effort as stretching before or after exercise. Pausing to reflect on what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown, what specific experiences have taught you is critical if you want to enhance your abilities and achieve new levels of growth. Another way of saying this is that by choosing to actively reflect on your experiences you are stretching your mind and soul versus simply living a passive existence.
Taking the time to intentionally pause and learn is the mental stretching that enables any experience to become a foundation for bigger and better things. I have met a lot of people in life who have a “something happened TO me” attitude or perspective about their experiences. Reframing this to focus on what you can learn shifts this to become a “something happened FOR me.” These are the people that inspire and motivate me. They choose to take any experience, whether good or bad, and not be defined by it but to instead learn from it and redefine their life based on having been stretched and grown.
How are you stretching in your life? Are you taking the time to intentionally learn and grow from the experiences that happened for you?
Stretching is a choice that enables future performance and prevents injuries. It is an exercise that is best done daily by simply taking five minutes at the end of each day to ask yourself “what have I learned from my experiences today?”
If you want to grow, don’t skip the stretch…