I’ve written a fair amount about flexibility on my blog in the past, but a lot of people get caught up in an ideal of physical flexibility without considering spiritual, mental or emotional flexibility.
Fixed Vs. Growth Mindsets
One piece of insight that changed my thinking patterns immensely was research done by Carol Dweck presented to me by friend, teacher and all around amazing person, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya. Dweck’s research concentrates on the idea of a fixed mindset – one that gets stuck in ruts and then trapped by routine. Research shows that those who have fixed mindsets, as opposed to growth mindsets, consider their brain, talents and other skills to be fixed. It’s that whole idea that you’ve got what you’re born with so you might as well do the best you can with what you have. This is fine, but it cuts out so much possibility, hope and potential.
Those with growth mindsets on the other hand, spend less time focusing on what they’ve been given and more time developing their skills, talents and brain so that they can learn new skills, become better at what they already know and grow. It’s a growth mindset that ultimately brings success. Those with fixed mindsets will have a predetermined course and may find success, but only within the bounds by which they already assume success to be possible. Those with fixed mindsets will hit a ceiling and then be satisfied because they will think that’s the farthest they can go. That is utterly terrifying.
Back to Stretching
The good news is, you can stretch and train the mind into a growth mindset. You can jump the ruts created by neural pathways in your brain and create new ones. You can trash old habits and begin anew. Is it easy? Of course not. But it can be done if you really, really want it.
Stretching is a funny thing. It feels really good and really awful at the same time. It’s one of those things we know we need, but in the moment are cursing to ourselves wondering if we really have to be doing this. The answer is yes, by the way. If you want to grow, you have to stretch. That is just as true for muscles as it is for neurons, brain tissue, cells, and spiritual enlightenment.
There is Always Another Way, A Modification If You Will
I’m a huge fan of entrepreneurship studies. I just made that up, but it essentially means I spend way to much time watching, observing and studying about entrepreneurship and what other entrepreneurs are doing in hopes that I can absorb some their entrepreneur magic and apply it to my own business model. I never would have penned myself as an entrepreneur until a keen insight hit me near the end of college.
I think it was around the time when I was starting to look for that first job after college. As I was trying to find the average salary an entry-level marketing coordinator makes in Denver/Boulder, I got pretty depressed. I changed the search criteria a few times to see what my future financial picture might realistically look like. This may sound vain, but when I realized I’d never make more than a couple hundred thousand dollars a year no matter how far up the ladder I went, which would take years, I panicked. There goes my dreams of striking it rich. And here was where the big insight hit, here is where I shifted from fixed mindset to growth mindset.
You will never make billions of dollars working for someone else. Ever.
Fat chance if you even make millions. I wanted more than an ordinary life. I’m not ashamed to say that I wanted more than a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. Was I crazy to eventually decide that yoga teaching was a better path to get me there than marketing. Yes. But, the point is, I stretched my mind and shifted away from a belief system that had been engrained in me since the day I was born. There are other options besides go to school, get your degree and get a job. The other options are grueling and difficult and painful and not financially rewarding in the slightest in the beginning. But there are other options.
I have yet to see if my “other” option will work out. But through it all, I’ve learned that the other option is viable and I don’t actually need a couple hundred thousand dollars a year to be happy and enjoy my life. I do need a little more than I make right now, but I don’t need millions. I want millions, but I don’t need it. And I can be happy with that.
Let’s Start at the Beginning and Stretch Out Your Low Back
With all that said, how about we stretch out your muscles. The physical path is a great entry point to the mental, emotional and spiritual worlds lingering underneath the skin. And most of us experience tension and pain in our low backs, so it’s as good a place as any to start. Happy stretching!
Oh and one last thing. Do you know someone who could benefit from some stretching – physical, mental, emotional or spiritual? Send them this post and tell them you were thinking about ’em!
Image credit: kenjonbro