When was the last time you put yourself in a position to be stretched? When you set out to do or learn something new, especially something that would take some effort on your part? It can be natural to avoid these times, to stick with your current areas of competence. But if you always avoid being stretched, how will you continue to grow?

I’ve experienced this stretching feeling myself over the past few weeks. I’ve been taking an online course in Machine Learning, and although it’s been informative and interesting, there have been aspects of it that have been challenging. And I’m glad. It means my mind is being stretched, and I have to work to understand. And I think that’s a good thing. Knowing you had to work hard to acquire a skill or knowledge makes the acquisition of it all the more satisfying. And through the process, you also find you’ve grown a little.

Like the athlete in the weight room, attempting to lift more than you have before may cause some temporary discomfort. It will take some effort. But it’s what ultimately leads to growth. And growth is part of life.

We can all grow in all kinds of ways. But continuing to grow will require choosing to be stretched from time to time.