Stuck in a Rut

I was watching someone draw with a pencil the other day. She made a line that she didn’t like so she erased it and tried again. She said she didn’t like it when the pencil slid towards the old groove that had been etched into the paper and made her draw along the line she didn’t like the first time. It struck me as very interesting because life can be like that too.

Lots of times we find ourselves in a groove; sometimes it’s a good groove that’s guiding us along effortlessly towards a desired goal; sometimes it’s more of a rut that’s funnelling us towards an outcome that we’re not excited about, or possibly even dreading.

A rut is a deep groove, track, or trench which has been worn by habitual passage. There are numerous resources available to help us get motivated to get out of a rut. Most of the advice includes things like; setting new goals, changing your routine or environment even slightly; breaking daunting tasks into simple steps; rewarding yourself for little accomplishments; surrounding yourself with inspirational and enthusiastic people; attracting what you want in your life by thinking positively and believing that it’s possible.

These are somewhat helpful suggestions if you need to get out of a groove that’s not working for you, but I don’t think getting out of a groove you don’t like is anywhere near as difficult as pushing forward to overcome obstacles that are in the way of you moving forward on a groove you do like.

A block is something that creates an obstruction, interruption, or cessation in your movement and sometimes it’s very difficult to see what’s causing the block.  Most of the suggestions I found about overcoming blocks were related to overcoming the fear, trying easier stuff first, taking a break then re-visiting the task, or staying focused so you can push through. These suggestions might be helpful if you’re having a brain cramp in the middle of an exam, but they seem a little too vague or simplistic for applying to emotional blocks that are preventing us from achieving our destiny.

When we come to a block in our forward progress in life it could mean a couple different things; maybe it’s our inner voice trying to tell us that we are indeed in the wrong groove after all. Maybe it’s the universe’s way of saying we’re not ready yet and we have more to learn before we can proceed. Maybe we’re gaining something from being blocked and we need to honestly ask ourselves what the pay-off is for staying idle. Maybe, like most of the literature suggests, we are scared of taking a risk or venturing out our comfort zone and we don’t want to fail or look stupid.

For me personally, I get blocked when I get to a challenge that I’m not naturally good at. I can take all sorts of risks and boldly push forward when I know I’m good at it and I know it will be relatively effortless to achieve positive results. As soon as I realize that I might have to put a little more blood sweat and tears into something, I hesitate.

We sometimes think, wouldn’t it be great if someone would just do all the hard work for me? Or wouldn’t it also be great if things just fell into our lap from sheer dumb luck? Too bad that isn’t how it goes most of the time. The problem is that we’re not always sure if we want the goal bad enough to work hard for it. Is that fear, confusion, or just laziness? Maybe it’s none of them.

Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– D.R. Graham 



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