Think You're Stuck? You Might Want To Consider If You Actually Prefer It That Way
Feeling stuck is an enemy of our own making, says Seth Godin. It's the fear of failure and resistance to change that is the very thing that's keeping us there
There's nothing as uninspiring as a blank page (metaphorically and literally speaking). Trying to figure out what to do next, whether that means writing, designing or making a life change, without actually doing anything (i.e. by just thinking about it) often does little more than keep us in a vicious cycle.
The more we try and think our way out, the blanker the "page" becomes; we try and think a bit harder - but the page never magically starts filling itself.
Aside from the odd lightening bolts, the only way out in any of these situations is through.
And therein lies the paradox.
The only way to combat our blocks or resolve whatever is keeping us stuck in a situation is to start to do whatever it is we feel we can’t do.
In this vein, Seth Godin argues there is no such thing as creative block.
Until you've dedicated thousands of hours to creating utter dross, he tells The Futur in the video (below), you can't even begin to make such a claim.
What "The Block" Actually Is
The point being, just staring at a blank piece of paper / screen does not count as having a creative block. And the reality is, the "block" is typically good old-fashioned performance anxiety, anyway. It’s our need to be perfect that can keep us "blocked".
As Godin says:
"That feeling that we have when we say we can't write is really the feeling we have when we say we can't write anything that's perfect... We are certainly capable of writing poorly. Nobody has 'writing poorly' block."
Show me 50,000 hours of writing terribly, he says, and then, he might concede we don't have what it takes. But until that day, the block is a figment of our imagination.
And this is pretty much the case for any other roadblocks we perceive in our lives that leave us feeling stuck, he argues here.
Stuck? Or Just Comfortable?
The key issue when we feel stuck, he warns, is that we can get a bit too snug and warm in the holy sanctums of our comfort zones – we get accustomed to the idea of being stuck and actually take active decisions to stay there:
"Staying stuck is the reason we're stuck... Because looking at the situation that we're in, looking at what we believe about the world around us, we come to the conclusion that it is safer and easier to stay stuck (and maybe whine about it) than it is go through the valley to the other side where unstuck lies."
How We Get Unstuck
If we want to push forward in whatever endeavour we are faced with, it’s essential we face the fact that it will always feel uncomfortable at first.
We will most likely come up with a fair amount of not-particularly-earth-shattering stuff initially.
We might make mistakes.
But, it's only by braving the period of being a rank amateur - and sticking with it anyway - by edging forward, bit by bit, that we will actually and evidentially get unstuck, he says.
And ultimately, Godin says, we only ever have three options to choose from, anyway, when we are in these situations - do something, don't do something - or obsess.
"You can change it, you can stick with it or you can complain about it. But changing it is an act of forward motion. And sticking with it, accepting it, working with it is also an act on your part... The place to avoid is this feeling of being stuck."