The Law of the Rubber Band

by Inda Deleon

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Growth is often uncomfortable. I love reading personal and professional growth books, and one that we talk about a lot at Built on Purpose is John Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. In his book, Maxwell provides a helpful analogy of growth via a rubber band. He points out that similar to a rubber band, we need to stretch to grow.

Growth stops when you lose tension between where you are and where you could be.

John Maxwell

There are some key benefits to tension. Maxwell shares seven of them in his chapter on The Law of the Rubber Band. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Few people want to stretch

Do you feel like you’ve reached your full potential? Maxwell says “Most people only use a small fraction of their ability and rarely strive to reach their full potential.” Do you agree? Is there something in your life you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve held yourself back out of fear? Doing that thing in fear is where we find growth.

We can’t grow if we stay stuck out of fear.

2. Settling for the status quo

Comfort zones are, well, comfortable. Too comfortable, in fact. They make us believe that we are happy with where we are and there is no need to want or reach for more. This about this for yourself. Is that truly what you want—to stay exactly where you are? Being in your comfort zone might feel really good for a while, but eventually you’ll be unsatisfied with what your life has become because you will look back and wonder, “what if?”

Our friend John reminds us, “You must be willing to leave behind what feels familiar, safe and secure.”

3. Stretching starts from the inside out

We all have dreams. This was probably especially true of us when we were kids. And we probably all had ideas of what we wanted to do or wanted to be when we grew up.

A child’s mind is that of a dreamer. We were much more open to dreaming at that stage because we knew we would change our minds the next day and it would be inconsequential. But somewhere along the way, we grew up and we stopped dreaming. Maybe due to fear. Maybe because we just got comfortable with our every day. Maybe we think to ourselves, “why fix what’s not broken?”

It’s wise to remember that our situation in life is mainly due to the choices we make and the actions we do or fail to take.

John Maxwell

If it’s still inside you and taking up space in your heart, shouldn’t you go for it?

4. Stretching always requires change

Change can be an overwhelming process and experience. We often want to grow, but with the hope that things can also stay as they are. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Maxwell says, “You can’t improve and avoid change at the same time.” It is part of the process that as you pursue your goals, your relationships will change, your environments will change and you will feel differently.

Change is good. Change is healthy. Staying stuck is harder than the growth change will provide for you. Our biggest seasons of growth come when we push past and through the discomfort. And it’s well worth it.

5. Stretching sets you apart from others

Is good enough really good enough? Improving yourself is the best way to not only grow, but also help others around you. “Successful people set themselves apart because they initiate the improvement others need.” (Page 167 of 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth)

When you get better so will others.

Isn’t it true that negativity spreads quickly? So can positivity. People will watch you evolve and they’ll want to start purising more for themselves as well. It’s contagious!

6. Stretching can become a lifestyle

If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Do we really get excited for the next day if we are doing the same thing over and over? Or are we just so comfortable that we don’t want to want more or different? Even if we have been successful or are currently doing exactly what we wanted to do, does that mean we stop growing? Should we stop wanting more? We should want to continue evolving. Staying the same shouldn’t be the goal.

7. Stretching gives you a shot at significance

The difference is the gap between good and great and what closes that gap is out willingness to stretch.

John Maxwell

On the good side, you’re satisfied with what you have and what you do. Things are okay and there is no obvious reason to change what you have going on.

On the great side though, there are so many endless possibilities. This is the side where you can do more than you thought you were capable of, more for others and make an impact.

The great side energizes you and keeps you moving forward in a way that keeps you growing. Without challenge, there won’t be any change and change could be exactly what you need.

So where are you stretching this week? Where are you growing? Give it some thought and share your conclusion or decision with someone around you.

Keep stretching and keep growing

Opening photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Photo of Inda Deleon

Written by Inda Deleon