Have you ever studied something new and found yourself having a headache?

Have you ever done a new activity and found yourself feeling more tired than normal?

If you have, there’s nothing wrong with you. The reality is that learning or doing anything new requires more focus and energy than we’re used to expending. I’m not speaking as a neuroscientist, but rather as someone who has recently experienced this phenomenon.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading some new books to increase my business knowledge. I’ve had these books in my Kindle library for quite some time, but haven’t decided to read them until recently. As I dug in, my brain started hurting! It wasn’t because I had a headache from allergies or the weather. It was simply because I was mentally digesting new ideas that I haven’t studied before.

And what’s worse, I felt this mental “pain” while sitting poolside relaxing with my family!

I had no reason to be stressed or strained. So, I began analyzing why I felt the way I did. I realized it was because I was being mentally challenged in ways that I haven’t experienced for quite some time. Much of what I normally read is aligned with what I already know, so it’s like adding small building blocks on top of one another. However, when we study something foreign to us, it’s like adding boulders to our minds. It can feel overwhelming!

I tell you this personal story to simply help you understand that when you feel the mental tension while learning something new, it’s normal. In fact, it’s a great sign that new growth is happening in your life!

John Maxwell teaches the “Law of the Rubber Band” in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. In this chapter, he shares that “growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be.” Think about a rubber band for a moment. It’s only good when it’s being stretched. Without the stretch, it’s a flimsy rubber ring that doesn’t have much value. But when it’s stretched, it can hold many things together.

That’s the way our minds are too.

When we are being stretched, we become more valuable. When we aren’t being stretched, we begin to experience mental atrophy. This is why scientists have created “brain games” for older adults to keep them thinking new thoughts as they age as life often becomes dull and routine.

So, are you being stretched lately?

What area(s) do you need to grow in?

What books do you need to read?

What mentors do you need to seek out?

What new activities do you need to try?

Make a list of key areas you need or want to grow in and then take action. Be prepared to feel the mental stretching, but accept it. Just like starting a new workout routine causes sore muscles, learning something new will cause you to feel some mental soreness. Embrace it. Press through it. And watch how much you grow and how valuable you can become!

Until next time, make today GREAT!

P.S. Are you a business owner or executive who is looking to attract quality team members and keep them engaged in your organization’s vision and mission? Check out the Magnetic Leadership Community where you’ll receive weekly leadership lessons, participate in monthly Q&A calls, hear from dynamic leaders in monthly interviews, and engage in a private forum with other growing leaders like yourself. You can even choose a monthly 1:1 coaching call. CLICK HERE to learn more and join the community!

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