Bust the Rut
It happens to the best of us. We find out what works in life, and we stick with it. Through trial and error, we learn how we like our days to go. Then we learn how we like our weeks to go. Then our months, then our seasons, then our years. We know what we’re going to do for winter vacations and spring breaks. We know exactly where we’re going to go to the beach during the summer.
We get in a groove because we know what we like and we see no reason to change. But gradually something happens to our groove. It gets deeper and deeper with every passing day, month, season, and year.
The groove becomes a well-worn track. Then it becomes a rut. Life gets dull. We feel like the world is passing us by.
We get stuck.
Don’t Keep Digging
Over the years, I’ve watched friends and colleagues handle being stuck in different ways. Some of them decide to dive deeper into a specific activity, subject, or skill. They strive for a high degree of excellence in one thing, hoping it will reinvigorate their life, snap them out of the doldrums, and make things fun again.
Their rationale seems to be the only way out is through.
The problem with this approach is that it makes the rut deeper. Instead of life getting bigger and better, it gets smaller and less fulfilling. Instead of expanding perspective and increasing options, it narrows perspective and limits options.
I recently attended a conference where the organizers offered a wide range of activities before breakfast. I loved the idea. Get people together before the conference starts. Looking over the options the night before, I chose something familiar. Something I was already good at. I figured it would be a great way to start the day, organize my thoughts, and meet people with common interests.
When I woke up the next morning, though, I did a one-eighty. I chose things I wouldn’t typically choose. On three consecutive mornings, I did archery, hiking, and meditation. It turned out those mornings were the high points of my conference. I learned new things and met people I wouldn’t have, otherwise.
That’s the best way to get out of a rut: challenge yourself. Try something new. Break the pattern. Throw away the mold. Stimulate your mind and add excitement to your day. You’ll meet new people, get new ideas, and attack life with renewed vigor and anticipation.
Want your soul to sing again?
Teach it a new song.