When you’re stuck

When you’re stuck

We all reach points when we are stuck and don’t know what to do to get moving again. The level of significance will depend on the “thing” against which we are stuck.

We might be stuck because we have to choose between two competing activities, our heart is telling us to make one choice and our head is telling us to make the other. We might be stuck because we have come up against an obstacle and cannot see a way to get past it. Being stuck is the symptom of being in a place where you don’t know what to do next; if you did you wouldn’t be stuck.

For some people doing anything is better than being stuck. It is the equivalent of trying to find a shortcut to bypass the traffic jam that you are sitting in. Without a satnav to let you know that the route will actually get you to where you want to be, quicker than staying on the original route, it is no more than a gamble. It is a sop to your controlling mind that says to you “I would rather be doing anything than being hostage to fortune of an uncertain outcome”. But is it the best course of action?

I am a great fan of quotes and in particular those of Albert Einstein, I feel sure it was his ability to grasp and explain the vicissitudes of life, as much as his scientific brilliance that elevated him above his peers in the mind of the public.

There are two Einstein quotes that help me when I’m stuck.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

“Once we accept our limits we go beyond them”

99 times out of a hundred it is us who’s gotten ourselves into being stuck and the hundredth time we’re just looking for someone else to blame. Which is where Einstein’s first quote comes in; if we’re responsible for getting ourselves stuck we can only get ourselves unstuck by increasing our awareness and understanding.

Which is where the second quote comes in: it is only when we accept that we don’t know something that we free ourselves to learn what we need to know. All the time we say that we are ok or know best we hold ourselves back and in a stuck position.

When we run our own businesses or are managers of teams it can be very hard to admit that we don’t know. We imagine it being seen as a sign of weakness, that those below us in the hierarchy will have a power over us because we admit a weakness.

Much office politics is based on this trait, as people seek to avoid association with things that have gone wrong and be associated with or take credit for the things that have gone well.

The issue is not whether you go public with the fact that you are stuck, it’s that you accept it within yourself and look for ways to deal with it.

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