Why We Feel Stuck in Life – and what to do about it

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

We know that things should be very different, but we don’t know how to break out of the rut we are in. Deep down, we feel tremendous dissatisfaction with our situation, because we are convinced that there is a greatness to achieve. But something is stopping us. If we knew what that something is, we could overcome it.

As a result of inward reflection or feedback from trusted friends, we can blame outside circumstances – money, people, circumstances, the weather. And we might also have realized that it is something about ourselves that is holding us back: our reluctance to grab opportunities; we don’t speak up when we have something to say; we play safe. All adding to our deep-seated sense of frustration and anger at being stuck.

It’s not that we lack ideas. We can be extremely creative in our potential solutions – some of which are innovative and amazing – but we talk ourselves out of them, compounding our feelings of impedance and stagnation.

Around and around in circles in circles we go.

So why do we feel this way?

Because we are scared to make the change we know we need to make. We are caught between knowing we need to BE something different, and taking the plunge to become it. We haven’t yet mustered the courage to act, or identified the first step(s). And, to be blunt, our current state has not yet become untenable enough to force us to change.

This is a feeling. It is not the truth in the physical world. Nothing is really stopping us making the change, except what is in our head. We are stuck in our own heads, and that is that. Sure, we will find excuses, but they are a fabrication. Not real impediments. If they were real, and the true barrier to fulfilment, we would go over them, go around them or go through them.

Such excuses might seem ridiculous – perhaps when reflected on in a few years time. But now, they’re carrying a lot of weight. Excuses like this:

  • We are worried about what our friends will think about us
  • We won’t look as important
  • It’s not what our parents wanted for us
  • It’s not why I trained as an XXXXXX
  • I will have to drop my salary and swap my Lexus for a Hyundai
  • I can’t do it

Perhaps you recognize some of these?

How do we get out of this rut?

So we have to choose to transition. And when I say choose, I don’t mean try, or pay lip-service to it, or leave it until next week. A choice isn’t a choice unless we take action.

And we have to say Hell to the consequences – and say Hell to the excuses.

But first, we need to support ourselves to truly make that choice.

I have a four-step process that will work for everybody:

  1. Accept what you want to become. No matter how ridiculous it might seem, or how much a diversion it is from where you are today. So if you’re a systems programmer, but want to be a brick-layer, then accept this. If you’re a nanny but hanker after being a CEO of a clothes retailer, then accept this. Only YOU can decide what YOU want to be.
  2. Create a clear and compelling vision of what life will look like when you become. Use a Goal Board, or whatever tool works for you. Your ‘vision’ is a visual manifestation of your life once you have achieved your transition. This has to be committed to the very front of your mind and memory. Until you have found the mental imagery to fixate on, don’t move on from here.
  3. Identify what is so crap about your current state. Remind yourself why you must change. You’ve accepted your current state for too long, but (perhaps) you’re not dissatisfied enough about it yet. Increase your personal dissatisfaction!
  4. Identify and act on actionable first steps. Set yourself some short-term, achievable goals and truly make the choice to transition. Start immediately, and take action. This is where you make it happen, and you need an early success. Expect some early set-backs, but keep going. If you think about, even for a second, giving up – look back at what you did in steps (2) and (3) – and get back on track.


A choice isn’t a choice unless we take action

Know what you want to be – no matter how hard, unusual or way out there it is. Know why you are not happy – and will continue to be unhappy – if nothing changes. And then JFDI (Just Do It).

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