Today’s Topic: Ruts
You ever find yourself in a rut? I don’t mean driving through a tire track on a muddy road, I mean finding yourself doing the same thing day after day after day, and then realizing that you are no further along towards your goals than you were weeks or even months before.
If you do find yourself in a rut, what do you do to get out of it? Better yet, how do you prevent yourself from ever getting into one in the first place?
In business, avoiding ruts is not always easy. If your chosen career is one filled with variety and fresh challenges, then you probably don’t end up feeling like the proverbial hamster on a wheel. But, if you’re constantly overworked, or do the same thing over and over each day, it’s easy to spin mindlessly away, creating a productivity and creativity vacuum that is difficult to escape.
In life, the same can happen: too many patterns, too much predictability, too little fresh energy and variety, and you can easily end up going nowhere but deeper into the rut.
If you have ever been in a rut – the stuck in a tire track on a muddy road kind – then you know that in order to get out, you need to assess the situation, take charge, take it slow, move a little forward and backward, avoid gassing the engine and spinning deeper, and sometimes even reach out for help to get a lift or pull out of the rut.
Twenty years ago, a friend gave me a rare picture of Babe Ruth to hang in my office –“Strive to be the best,” he told me. The only other photo of an iconic figure I’ve hung on a wall at work is of Albert Einstein, not because of his place in history, and not because he once said that his most astonishing discovery was the power of compounding interest – which was always a great tidbit to drop on clients – but because of his quote about insanity being that of doing things over and over and expecting different results.
If you’re striving to be the best, like the Babe, or you simply just want to be the best that you can be, and you find yourself stuck in a rut along the way, perhaps you can do the same thing as if you got stuck in the mud: spend a minute to evaluate the situation and make good decisions, take little steps to improve your footing, don’t spin your wheels, and grab advice and guidance from someone who can help pull you out of it if needed.
With that, here are a few relevant movie quotes that come to mind:
“I’ve been having a bad day for a year now.” Elizabeth Taylor in The Last Time I Saw Paris
“Sometimes, being out of your comfort zone is a good thing.” Michael Sheen in Frost-Nixon
“I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” –Morgan Freeman in Invictus