Get out of the loop

What to do when you're going round in circles...

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Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

I love it when small, everyday things hold a lesson for us.

The wi-fi signal booster outside my studio stopped working. It was deeply frustrating but eventually an engineer came to fix it and I learned what had been going wrong.

The booster was stuck in start-up mode. It kept on cycling round and round in start-up, not producing a signal. The remedy was straightforward. It needed to reboot. Now it’s working fine.

Isn’t that a great metaphor for how we can get stuck ourselves, in our lives, in our work?

You keep cycling round and round, not getting past start-up.

Is there a situation in your life that feels a bit like that?

Let yourself think about it for a moment. What is happening for you in this situation? How does it make you feel?

Rebooting is about breaking out of that cycle.

So here’s another object lesson. I love my car and its build-in satellite navigation. However, there is one area in a nearby city that my car and sat-nav do not love. When I drive down a particular street, the sat-nav gets stuck and sends me driving round and round in a circle. The only way I can fix this is to head off in a random direction. It doesn’t matter what direction, so long as it takes her out of the loop.

What’s actually going on, of course, is that the road layout has been altered but she’s still got the old layout in her memory. Sometimes our old habit-maps keep us stuck in a loop. They no longer hold good for the situation we’re in, but we don’t have a new map to follow.

The way out of this kind of loop is to start creating a new map by taking different actions that nudge us into a new pattern. Now here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be a huge, or heroic step. It doesn’t even have to be a carefully planned and strategic step. The key is that it represents some kind of movement.

What’s an action, a simple step, that could take you out of the start-up loop and onto a more productive route?

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