What does it mean when you stretch both intellectually and physically? We are generally told by fitness trainers that the benefits of stretching equate to better flexibility and endurance. Many people struggle with the ability to stretch beyond their current limits, and avoid the necessary stretching that might improve their situation.
Building flexibility is not just a good approach to physical health. The principle carries over to how we work in our organizations, in our relationships, and how we solve problems. Many people struggle with the effort (or the willingness to pay the price), to gain new benefits.
Stretching emotionally, and intellectually is not just good for our performance, it also provides us the reserves we need to remain more resilient in times of stress, or when we need to exert more personal effort to accomplish more complex problems.
As important as developing yourself in better physical shape, the principle of stretching implies that you will be better prepared for ongoing challenges, and the character to responsibly deal with highly charged issues, conflicting issues, or problems with other people.
How do we stretch? Physically we know that to stretch our muscles we must carefully, and slowly do so. Any quick actions when we’re not used to it, might damage muscles, or our ability to subsequently run or walk. Intellectual, and emotional stretching is also a progressive, and building process that can’t be approached in a quick fix manner. We have to allow our minds and our hearts to slowly consider and reflect on appropriate values, principles, and choices. Regular intellectual, and emotional renewal is a perfect way to slowly develop your reserves. Reducing things that cause stress (self caused stress) is also an important step. Learning to segregate things that pertain to us, versus those things that pertain to others is also a way to build reserves. For many people, merely limiting things that are causing stress and which they have direct control is an important place to start.
Often times, caring for ourselves, our bodies, and our mind requires us to make efforts to engage in healthier behaviors, and avoid pursuits that weaken our resolve. Again all these things are slow, progressive, require choice based on our conscience, and might require us to make hard choices. Remember, when you physically stretch, you are reorganizing the muscles. When you emotionally and personally stretch, you are also reorganizing choices, behaviors, and feelings. As you reorganize your thinking, your behaviors, and feelings will follow suit. Over time, you will develop more emotional and intellectual endurance, and strength, when times require it.