Stretching Your Mind: Your Mind as a Rubber Band

Rubber BandsYour mind is a reservoir of creative potential, just waiting for you to develop and nurture it. Too many people say they aren’t creative. I say – they either haven’t developed their creativity or are looking at creativity through a narrow focus.

Your Mind as a Rubber Band

I want you to picture a rubber band, one of the really thick, strong one’s used for bundling large packages. You’ve just taken it out of it’s box and what’s the first thing you do with it? You stretch it. Stretch it out to soften it. Coming straight out of the box it’s stiff and inflexible. After stretching it a few times it becomes softer, more pliable and stretchier.

Now imagine your mind as that rubber band. As we put creative ideas, dreams and inspiration into it, your mind stretches and flexes around the new thoughts. As the mind is stretched it becomes more capable to stretch and flex, able to accommodate and generate more and greater ideas and creativity.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” Once you’ve added a new idea into your head it creates a new neural pathway within your mind. The dendrites and synaptic buttons in your brain form new connections within the biochemical/electromagnetic network of cells and nerves. (for more information on how this works, see The Mind Map Book by Tony Buzan)

Just like the rubber band becomes able to stretch more, your mind is expanded and able to accommodate more growth. Over time those pathways become a permanent part of your mind and enable more and more creativity to happen. They become reinforced, stronger and reinforced through repetition, enabling them to develop side pathways of their own.

Use It or Lose It

Now think of a rubber band that has been left in the drawer, unused and neglected for a long time. What does it look like? Dull, white-coated, shrunken. What happens when you try to use it? It snaps, yes? It’s flexibility and potential has been lost because it was not used.

Growing Pains

Ever felt the pain of trying to learn something new? Been to a seminar or workshop and heard so much you want to ask the speaker to stop so you can process the information? That vertical learning curve of working to master a new skill? I have a friend who called that discomfort a ‘mind expansion headache’. It’s when information is packed into your head faster than your brain can comfortably adapt and stretch to accommodate it.

That rubber band around your mind becomes stretched to the max, working hard to assimilate and understand the new ideas being poured in. Now think about how you feel a little later on, when you’ve had time to understand, work through and use some of the new information. Feels better, yes? That’s because your mind has adjusted and expanded to fit those ideas in.

Your mind is more than a muscle. In fact, it’s actually a bundle of nerves and pathways more than a muscle, but that’s beside the point. Creativity, stretching and using your mind, increases the capability of your mind. It’s a catch-22 in reverse – the more you use and develop your mind creatively then the more able and capable you are of developing it more. Like an ever expanding spiral your creativity develops as you stretch that rubber band more and more.

How Far Can You Stretch?

Visualise stretching that rubber band again. Really see it in your mind, your hands stretching that band out for maximum flexibility. Watch the movement of your hands and the rubber band. See how you’re doing it? If you’re like me, then you’re stretching it out and then allowing it to relax back before stretching it out again. Just as the band needs to relax, so too does your mind. The relaxing allows the creativity to flow and settle, before stretching out again further than before. The rest, the relaxing, is just as important as the stretching and development.

How far can a rubber band stretch? How much can your mind hold and process? Eventually the rubber band will snap when it reaches its limits. Your mind however, has no such physical limits. Provided you take breaks, relaxing the stretch, your mind can develop and expand infinitely. The only limits we have on our minds are those we put there ourselves. Allow your brain time to relax and process the information you’ve put into it and you’ll quickly be able to develop more creative ideas and expand it further.

About Melinda

Melinda BrennanMelinda Brennan is a Business Coach who helps her clients use the power of their own minds to develop their businesses and get past limiting beliefs.

Visit her online at WAHM Biz Builder

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6 thoughts on “Stretching Your Mind: Your Mind as a Rubber Band

  1. Andy Hayes says:

    Great analogy – and it’s true! Reminds me of yoga…a little awkward at first but once you get into it, you’d never go back.
    .-= Andy Hayes´s last blog ..You Deserve Time Off, Really =-.

  2. Melinda – another great post. Sometimes I feel like the amount of information that comes at me – whether it be through email, discussions, etc. is almost too much to handle and process. The imagery of a rubber band is definitely helpful – now I don’t feel like I’m the only one, either!
    .-= Laura Cococcia | The Journal of Cultural Conversation´s last blog ..Back To School: Spending Thanksgiving With The Children of Machu Picchu =-.

  3. @ Andy – Yoga is a great analogy too. Everything is awkward until you get used to it. 🙂

    @ Laura – thank you! Information overload is a huge problem these days, our minds need time to assimilate and digest the information. I recently unsubscribed from over 20 rss and newsletters, because I couldn’t handle the amount of information I was trying to take in on a daily basis. That much information stretches the band to breaking point!
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..Imagine Slowing Down and Getting More Done =-.

  4. Hi Melinda,

    I love the analogy of the rubber band. As I was reading your words it reminded me of when I started blogging. I knew so little, but yet had the desire to learn. I stretched my brain, pounded my head against the wall trying to understand all I needed to, and filled my brain to the rim. Like you said, it helped to relax and let my brain process the information. For me, it was those light bulb moments of “I get it!” that were the reward.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..The Battle Over Comments – Part 2 =-.

  5. […] Stretching Your Mind: Your Mind as a Rubber Band ( […]

  6. I agree,thanks for the great analogy and explanation of using the power of your mind. It’s a subject I have recently been very interested in.
    .-= Mind Power Research´s last blog ..Mind Power Research updated Tue Jul 6 2010 6-32 am CDT =-.

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