I grew up on a small farm, so I’ve had ample opportunity to get stuck. Which I believe is true for anyone who chooses to explore. I’ve had a lawn mower stuck on a hill, in a ditch, and even in a creek. A motorcycle stuck in a pond, on the side of half frozen hill, and in a snow bank. I’ve had snowmobiles stuck numerous times. I’ve had my car stuck in the mud, sand, and snow. I’ve even had a homemade hovercraft stuck in a pond.
I’ve also been stuck in trees, in mud, on the side of a cliff, in small spaces, in the snow, in relationships, projects, and ideas. At which point I begin to question what does “stuck” mean. I see two types of stuck. One is stuck to the point where you can’t get yourself out. Two is a stuck where it is the result of the wrong approach, which is a temporary situation that you just lack the vision to see a way out. These are what approaches I have used to get unstuck.
Wait it out
Time changes circumstances. Snow melts, mud dries up, people change, people move, and we grow. This is a difficult choice, because it requires patience and time. It’s not always the right choice, because time is not always an option.
Ask for help
Seek people who have been stuck before. You would be surprised by how willing they are to help, because they were once stuck too. Through their experience, knowledge, and effort you will get moving again. One day you will be able to help someone else get unstuck too.
Improve the circumstances
Look at what is holding you in place and change it: sand the ice or put straw on the mud. If you can’t write a blog post, then change your topic, change your writing method, or change your environment. Change creates movement; you can’t be stuck if you’re moving.
When the ship is going down, you don’t want to go with it. Starting out new can be a blessing in disguise. The sign to abandon ship is when your project or relationship has been sitting there half finish or half broken for longer than it has been worked on or ever worked. You have to get rid of what’s holding you back to make room for something new.
Getting stuck means that there is not enough traction to overcome the resistance holding you in place. Friction always works for and against you at the same time. The friction of your car tires against the road propels you forward. While the friction of the air resists your forward motion. There are two types of friction: starting friction and sliding friction. Starting friction is always more the sliding friction. Use this to your advantage when getting unstuck. The trick is to use a low gear to turn the wheels slowly so they don’t slip. Stuck on a project then slow down for a moment by focusing on one small piece and inch your way forward. Inches add up to feet and feet into miles.
Getting stuck means you are going places and trying projects that are different, difficult, and new. This reminds me of my favorite Robert Frost work “The Road Not Taken” and his famous quote “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
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