Many people I talk to mention how they feel like they’re stuck in a rut — maybe they’re job is boring and they tried changing it but nothing is happening. It’s easy to feel a sense of helplessness in the midst of everything that’s happening in the world. I understand because I’ve been there and to some extent I’m still there.
However, you can’t get unstuck from a rut by doing the same things over and over again that got you in there. So maybe the first thing you need to do is to take a stock of your life, and reverse-engineer it by reconsidering every decision you’ve made and then trying to make different choices in the future.
Remind yourself this is what I did before and it got me nowhere. So maybe next time I need to avoid defaulting into my previous habits. The truth about this strategy is it’s going to be hard. There are many reasons for defaulting in life; easier, less risky, more comfortable.
But then again, these are also the main reasons why you’re stuck in a rut to begin with.
From my personal experience, I noticed my life started to change;
- Don’t wait for circumstances to be perfect to start taking steps towards your dreams. There’ll never be the perfect time/age/account balance for you to start. For the longest time I kept on telling myself I won’t publish ebooks until the manuscript is perfect and I could afford a proper cover designer and editor and blah blah blah…But then I thought to myself enough with the excuses, and finally launched on Kindle despite the meager quality of the book cover. Just the act of publishing did wonders to my self-esteem (because everything is connected). Whenever seeds of self-doubt start taking root in my mind, I only have to glance over at the physical copies of my books and feel better(I used createspace to get the hard copies of the 3 books — 1 published publicly and 2 published privately). Just seeing my name on the front cover made me think I might be closer to my dream than I think.
- Write down a list of ideas. I have to admit I don’t do that all the time, but some of the book ideas — like Mine Your Inner Resources — came as a result of one of those idea generation sessions. James Altucher recommends you write down ten ideas pertaining to a topic every day. Ten is the optimum number because by 5 your brain is sweating and you have to break through the block to get to 6.
- Step out of your comfort zone. For the longest time I’ve always been too scared to try out new things, meet new people…However, I recently started doing all that and the rewards have been amazing. Besides putting me in a good mood because the people I’ve met so far have been great, just the act of stepping out of my comfort zone has initiated a positive feedback mechanism that spills over in various areas of my life so I have more confidence and stuff. For instance, today I met this amazing girl at Caribou and we hit it off from the start because she graduated from my alma mater.
- Start a side hustle. Remember the time hustle had a negative connotation? Nowadays it’s millennials’ favorite word. Side hustles have become easier to get into because of technology. Whether it’s a side business or engaging in a passion project or holding meetups and talking about things you’re interested in, you no longer have an excuse not to attempt something.
“But there are many people doing that,” is a very common excuse.
Response number one, “Who cares what others are doing?”
You’re not looking at your side hustle to replace your source of income [at least not at first]. If you read Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, you’ll notice a lot of artists had day jobs, and it’s a concept that Liz Gilbert emphasizes on in her book, “Big Magic,” where she says, “I never wanted to burden my writing with the responsibility of paying for my life. I knew better than to ask this of my writing, because over the years, I have watched so many other people murder their creativity by demanding that their art pay the bills.”
If you love the process then its goal is to fill you with positive energy that can spill over the other time of your life [and if it doesn’t, then really, there’s no point starting]. In other words, make your 5–9 brighten up your 9–5.
- Travel. This is not always easy to execute because of financial constraints. You don’t need to get out of your country. You can explore your country/area, talk to people you wouldn’t otherwise talk to. Travel gives you perspective, transforms you and lets you learn more about yourself.
- Last but not least, read. It’s like traveling, just without the cost and hassle.
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Check out my fiction short story collection, “All Bleeding Stops and Other Short Stories from the Kenyan Coast” and visit my website http://ahscribbles.com/ to subscribe to the newsletter.
Originally published at medium.com