Have you ever felt stuck?
You know the feeling – you’re not happy with a situation, you know it could be better, you’ve even tried to make it better. But all of your best efforts still end with the “same old-same old” feeling – STUCK!
Well, you are not alone, it’s a very big club.
In fact, when I ask this question in seminars, just about everyone raises their hand. I have a strong suspicion hose who don’t raise their hand are the folks who would never raise their hand in public no matter what I ask.
If so many folks feel this way, then why aren’t more people finding ways to get unstuck. The simple answer is that we are not taught how to solve this problem. There’s isn’t a course that I’m aware of called Getting Unstuck 101.
So we wind up doing the same things, that don’t work, over and over again and expect different results. It’s similar to what we do when we get our car stuck in the sand, mud or snow: if we don’t get out on the first try, we spin our wheels, digging the hole deeper and deeper and we get “stucker and stucker.”
Another good illustration of staying stuck can be found in a story called “What to Do When Your Horse Dies.”
If the horse you’ve been riding has died, then get off the horse!
But instead of getting off, we try:
- buying a stronger whip
- switching riders
- trying a new bit or bridle
- moving the horse to a new location
- saying “this is the way we’ve always ridden this horse”
- form a commission to study the horse
- visit other places where they ride dead horses more efficiently
- blame the horse’s parents
- complain about the state of horses these days.”
Why in the world would we try any of the above solutions with a dead horse? Yet we do it all the time. In our stubbornness, we keep trying to solve a problem with the exact same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place.
How to Get Un-Stuck
Now for the good stuff – the tools and solutions. Here are just a few suggestions:
Albert Einstein said it much better than I ever could: “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created the problem.”
We all can change our thinking by asking better questions.
- Change the lame sounding-dead roach-victim whining “why does this always happen to me-it’s not fair-what did I do to deserve this” garbage question to “in how many ways can I creatively get unstuck while benefiting myself and others and enjoy the process?”
- Use unusual, creative, silly, never-tried-it-that-way-before solutions. Remember that “every unattempted solution fails.”
- Ask for help. I know this idea sounds so un-American-I can do it myself-I can handle it-I don’t need any one-proud and independent blather, but it works, just about every time. Just make sure you ask the right people: instead of asking those that are just as stuck as you, ask those who have been where you are and found their way to the other side.
A word of caution, however. While there is much to gain by getting un-stuck, there are a few things you must be prepared to give up as well. Things like:
- not being responsible/accountable for where you are
- no one expecting anything from you
- the helpless victim role
- the security and safety of the familiar
But if you are ready to give these things up, then let’s get going, it’s time to get unstuck and go live. It’s like the old saying, “a ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not for what ships are made.”
Happy sailing, and keep the change!