Is this you? Are you the type of person who is always getting stuck in ruts? You try to change and yet no matter how far you try you keep reverting back to where you where?
This is a universal feeling, everyone gets stuck in ruts. Everyone feels like they are trapped at some point in their life. Maybe you have ambitious goals and are working hard to achieve them but you are not getting anywhere. Or maybe you have no idea what you want but you know that this isn’t cutting it. That’s okay. You may not realize it yet, but your frustration of being in ruts could very well be one of your greatest strengths. Let me explain…
Your efforts are in the wrong place
This is the last thing that anyone wants to hear. I for one, nearing the end of my college career, realize with full clarity the lack of marketability of a college degree. I’m the type of guy that always pushes feverously into whatever I happen to be interested in. Being given a second chance at academics after my abysmal high school experience, I poured my heart into doing well in school. During the first two years, I felt like I was doing really good and what I was doing mattered. However, my social skills began to atrophy as I poured myself into my studies. The malaise of living in the roughest part of town began to wear off on me and I kept on telling myself that all my efforts would pay off.
But they didn’t. By the end of junior year, all my friends got much better job offers despite barely passing their classes, just off knowing the right people. I was incensed because I believed I put in so much more effort than they and got jack-shit to show for it. Somehow, they could just feel my negativity and started to become more distant. I was wrong here; wrong for taking my bitterness out on them, and wrong for assuming that they didn’t put in any effort- they just redirected it into the right places.
Nobody is impressed by how long or hard you work. What matters is putting the appropriate amount of effort into the right places. There’s a principle in economics called the Pareto Principle. It states that 80% of your output comes from 20% of input. This is also called the 80/20 rule, and it applies to just about everything. For instance, if you are currently a college student, 80% of your ability to get hired comes from knowing the right people. Connecting with people who can help you get in touch with other people would be 20% of your input while studying for midterms would be the other 80% of your input, because meeting people takes less effort than getting the highest grades possible. I hope this makes sense to you.
You don’t have the willpower to crush your ruts
Some people are simply doomed to a life of mediocrity and will keep getting stuck in ruts. I know that we are a feel-good society, and we assume that anyone can make something of themselves if they just put the effort into it. Maybe that’s true, but its ignoring an important component in the equation- the will to change just isn’t there.As I mentioned in you have no reason to complain, we live in a comfortable society where all of our needs are being met. The consequence for failing to take action just means falling into a cushy safety net. Many democratic socialist nations secretly suffer because the incentive to push harder and keep pushing isn’t there- they can always fall on the safety net.
People who struggle with addictions and relapse frequently are people who are mentally weak. When I was trying to recover from my porn addiction, I frequently relapsed partly because I didn’t have the mental fortitude at the time to change. This is something that is difficult to forge- you either have it or you don’t. However, if you don’t have mental toughness and you wish to hone it, the best advice I can give you is put yourself in a position where you are no longer comfortable.
You might need to move to a completely different country to force yourself to adopt to different customs, become financially stable without a safety net, and make friends on your own outside your predesignated social circle. I recommend anyone who is either graduating from high school or graduating college to do just that and take a gap year. Going to embark on mine in a few months and I’ll let you know how it goes.
You don’t have the endgame in mind
What do you really want- not what you are pretending to want- is what the basis for motivation is. Most people never truly grasp the level that they are being brainwashed by their ‘wise’ elders and authority figures. Once you become an adult, you have already had 18 years of social programming embedded in your brain; most people will never even attempt to deviate from their social programming. Even if you do decide to break free from the more traditional conservative lifestyle, do you really think you are going to reverse 18 years of social programming in just a few short months? I’ve swallowed the ‘red pill’ three years ago, and I still sometimes have to monitor my own thoughts and values because the social conditioning is just so pervasive.
Then the people who do break free don’t really know where to go next because the path is no longer laid out in front of them. Many resort to being angry at the System and spend their free time shaking their fists at it. Do you really think they are less dependent on the System then those who obey it? Of course not, by directing their belligerence at the System, they still have one foot back in it. This is why it’s best that you should ignore things you might hear in the news that make you angry if you can’t control the outcome (within reason, of course if it affects you directly then make a stand. I’m not suggesting you become a pussy).
But back to being free of the System and not having the endgame in mind. The only way to get out of these kind of ruts is to develop your life’s vision. Everyone is either passionate or knowledgeable about something, and other people can feel the energy that radiates off of passionate people. This is how you start to grow your empire. What are you passionate or knowledgeable about, and how can you share that with others? Don’t worry about making money off of it or quit your day job just yet. It may take many months or even a few years, but eventually your passion will develop a loyal following. When that happens, you won’t even need to sell to people, they will simply buy!
It’s just not your time
Sometimes, you’re just going to have to wait it out. If you have the mental fortitude to get out of your ruts, your efforts are in the right place, and you are following you passion, it might feel demoralizing when over a longer period of time you have nothing to show for it. That doesn’t mean that you should quit and try something more practical, it doesn’t mean that you should give up (this is a surefire way to become depressed and develop more ruts), and it doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve or weren’t destined for greatness. The only thing it means is that it’s just not your time yet.
If you’re panning for gold, you’re going to find a lot of rocks before you find that nugget. Similarly, if everything else is in place and you are not getting what you want, maybe you should focus more on the journey and less on the results. You might be tell yourself “I just want to get there! When am I going to get there?” but ask yourself “Will I still be saying that when I ‘got there’?” Maybe when you know all there is to know about the gold panning business and you have thousands of nuggets to show for it, you’re going to wish that you could do it all over again. That you could just once experience the thrill of finding that very first gold nugget yet.
If it’s not your time yet, don’t fret about it and instead embrace the journey. We only get to do this shit once, why are you so desperate to get to the finish line? If you are doing what you are truly passionate about but you are having a rough start, remind yourself that it will eventually pay off in the future. Don’t worry about it, just ‘embrace the suck’!
Ruts are a natural occurrence that happens to everyone. You should see the malaise of being in ruts as a blessing in disguise. Most people don’t even know they are in a rut and are living their lives oblivious to the greater possibilities that are out there. You noticing that you are in ruts is the very first step to your recovery.
Use the ruts to your advantage. Make a plan of what you want to be doing and where you ultimately want to be. This will give you incentive to get out of your ruts. Then develop the mental fortitude that you need to actually pull yourself out of the ruts and begin your recovery. Next, make sure that you are putting your efforts in the right places or you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. The final step is to just wait it out until it is your time and just enjoy the journey until then.
If you have any specific questions leave them in the comments below. Here’s to crushing all your ruts!