Stretching is important. Well, depending on your goals that is.
If your goal is to remain the same person you are today, then I advise against stretching. If your goal is to improve yourself in any way, then stretching is key.
Carol Dweck, in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, taught the idea of fixed vs growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is someone who believes they are generally limited by nature, they are who they are and the skills they have they were born with, so there's little point in exerting much effort.
A growth mindset is someone who believes that they have little inherent limitations and that the skills they have now were due to learning and developing over time, so they continue to prioritise and believe in growing as a person.
What's really interesting about these two mindsets, is how different the results are. We know fixed mindset folks won't work as hard to improve (because why piss into the wind?) but what's just as interesting is how fixed mindset people view life. They view life as one big test of how much they were born with.
That's a remarkable insight. Life in the fixed mindset is lived on the back foot. Challenges aren't opportunities, they're only opportunities in so much as opportunities to be shown up as not good enough. To be weighed and found eternally wanting.
The growth mindset, however, sees challenges as learning opportunities. They approach these head on, and by the end come out far ahead of where the fixed mindset folk end up. The stretch themselves to go further and they get there.
One of my goals this year is to become more flexible, physically. Ironic that one of my goals to improve myself, to stretch myself, is to stretch more.
For a long while I sub-consciously believed that I was stuck being inflexible. I can't touch my toes and for some reason I thought that's just it. I had a fixed mindset around my flexibility despite being aware of the fixed vs growth mindsets. I never stretched much as a kid and now this is my lot. It's fixed.
But it's not. Even with physical limitations where my hamstrings scream "you can't go any further!", they're wrong. I can go further. I just need to teach them over time, handholding them outside their comfort zones until they realise that they too can adapt and stretch.
So here's to stretching. May we stretch ourselves in life, and may we stretch our hamstrings.