I received an email blast the other day about a new golf “improvement” device. It promised that I would “feel the stretch” when I used it, with all sorts of benefits to my core strength, my flexibility and of course, my golf swing.
And I could almost feel the stretch they described just by thinking about it. A good stretch…a thoughtful, patient, slow and purposeful good stretch is a tremendously gratifying thing; both the act itself and the feeling of rejuvenation that comes with it.
Again, I am talking about thoughtful, patient, slow and purposeful stretching. When we take it on that way it can do wonders for both mind and body.
And what’s good for our physical bodies surely must be good for our cognitive and emotional capacities as well. And yet what I find so often, in myself and in my clients, is that when I take on a new stretch, the challenge of developing a new skill, behavior, aptitude or approach, I expect to figure it out right away…right now.
When I get down to the business of actually making the change, the attempt at assimilating this foreign attribute into my native patterns, it doesn’t take long for me to expel it. My urgency for “mastery” is overwhelmed by the recognition of the effort required and I can become thoughtless, impatient, fast and chaotic in my attempts to figure it out.
Which is precisely when I am best advised to remember to “feel the stretch.”
The promotional video includes instructions for a series of exercises. So many reps for so many minutes a day. Feel the stretch. Build yourself up a little at a time. Soon, not tomorrow and probably not next week, but soon you will feel and experience the results.
I think I’m gonna buy it.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.