Why You’re Stuck In Life (and How to Shake that Shit Up)

Getting Stuck Sucks!

Car Stuck in SnowWinter in Wisconsin sucks balls.  It just does. It’s COLD and snowy…really snowy!

The part I hate most of all is having to go out in the cold and snow.  But there’s not really a choice, since it will be like this from about November through March or April.

…And so I brave the elements in order to get to work, do the grocery shopping and carry on with life until the cold weather breaks.

The worst part of all the snow is that it just piles up and there’s no where to put it….and it just keeps falling.

A couple of winters ago, I was running late for a meeting.  I went out to my car, started it up and put it in reverse.  I stepped on the gas.  The engine revved but the car didn’t move.

I gave it a bit more gas and turned the wheel slightly, trying to back out of the parking space into which my car had become ensconced by the snow.  Like a bear huddled in a hibernation den for the winter, my car seemed reluctant to move from it’s cozy snow den.

“Dammit,” I muttered under my breath, jamming my foot onto the accelerator.

I knew it was a lost cause, as the tires spun on the ice beneath the car.

I don’t know why we do that…especially those of us who’ve grown up all our lives around winter weather.  Why do we continue to spin the tires when we’re stuck?  We know it won’t help us gain traction…and will probably actually do the opposite.  Still, we persist.

Why You’re Stuck In Life

Life is the same way.  You feel trapped in a dead-end job.  You know the relationship you’re in has soured, but you can’t bring yourself to walk away.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t stay committed to that exercise regiment and diet plan.   You feel like pulling your hair out.

We as humans are ingenuity machines. Why, then, are so many of us stuck in life?

I have a theory.  You are stuck because when you’re stuck, you don’t have to stretch.

When You’re Stuck, You Don’t Have to Stretch
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“Stuck” is Security

What do I mean by “when you’re stuck, you don’t have to stretch”?

For many of us, being stuck is safe.  No,  it’s not comfortable, but it is safe.  It’s known, and most of us fear the unknown more than we fear almost anything else.

Let’s face it. That’s why most of us fear death.  Not because of death, per se.  But we are afraid of what it will be like to die. We’re afraid of how we will die.

Will it hurt?  Will we know what’s going on?  What happens the minute after we die? We are terrorized by the unknown.

And so we live life, content to be stuck because then we don’t have to stretch.

Getting “Un-stuck”

Yoga in Yosemite Breaking free of the state of “stuckness” requires you to stretch.  You have to become something that you fear (something unknown).

You have to walk toward something you’ve never done and ultimately embrace someone you’ve never been (or at least never thought you could be).

The power of shaking it up comes when you choose to stretch yourself–even in the small ways–instead of opting for the convenient stuckness.

So make a habit of stretching. Stretch yourself physically. Stretch yourself mentally. Stretch yourself psychologically and emotionally–and in every other way you can imagine.

Soon, stretching yourself will be your strength and being stuck will be a distant memory because you’ll know that all you have to do when you feel stuck is to stretch!

Photo Credit 1: Creative Commons License Alex Proimos

Photo Credit 2: Andrew Whalley

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • I’ve asked myself this question over and over again too Steve! Why do I get stuck? Or the better question for me is why do I keep getting stuck about the same issues?? (Do I hear a therapist knocking on my door right now?! LOL)

    I can’t keep blaming it on my Piscean ways either 😉

    There were times when I would talk myself OUT of what I knew was good for me just to stay complacent, to keep myself in this dreaded comfort zone. So what helps me to get from unstuck to shaking that ‘ish up? 1) I look to others who seem to be ‘unstuck’ and learn from them/follow their lead; 2) I ask for candid advice from my close peeps to help me see things differently; and ultimately 3) Just get the heck outta my own way. Sometimes it’s easier said than done but I’m doing more, acting on my thoughts more, and putting myself out there more wherein I feel like I HAVE to keep going and I can’t stop! 🙂

    • I’m with you. I always see the same situations and circumstances showing up in my life again and again…so I get you there.

      Your three steps are really wonderful practical ways of stretching yourself. You force yourself to be more accountable to the world, open yourself up for feedback and you make yourself look beyond yourself for guidance.

      Bravo. You encourage me on this journey and I appreciate it.

  • Wonderful Steve!

    I am already shivering reading your post about the amount of snow you have there! 🙂 Glad that we don’t have snow where I live, though it get’s quite cold and shivery without it too.

    Yes indeed, most of us in our lives prefer to take the simple path of sitting where we are and remaining stuck in that place, because that’s our comfort zone. Why would anyone want to stretch until they have a problem or they want to make an effort to stretch – isn’t it?

    However, if you don’t stretch beyond your comfort level, you really don’t achieve anything and you will remain stuck where you are. So, the choice is always in our hands, how we want to take life – remain stuck or stretch it, just as you mentioned so well here.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Thank you for your perspective, Harleena. We assume that the “simple path” is the one to which we’re most accustomed, but in the long run, I’ve found that this is not the simplest path at all.

      It’s like a muscle. If I stretch it and use it every day, it will grow in strength and the things I used to struggle to lift will be easily lifted…but if I don’t stretch it, then it loses the strength it has and the “easy” path becomes the hard one.

  • That much snow already Steve!? Yikes!

    I agree with what you say about stretching. I’ve been feeling stuck lately, and not sure if I can really break out of it but one thing I have been doing is learning how to play the doumbek – the Arabic drum. I love learning something new – I know it’s good for the brain – even just doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku.

    Does this count as stretching?


    • Not yet…lol. This story was from a couple of winter’s ago.

      Stretching isn’t about the big things…at least in my estimation, Lori. For you, right now, stretching means just willing yourself out of bed in the morning.

      The intention with which you’re choosing to live is such a powerful example and inspiration to me because I know it’s definitely not easy and is absolutely a conscious choice. I honor you in that.

      Of course, “stuck” is a metaphor and just because you may not feel you’re moving forward at the moment doesn’t mean you’re stuck. Just remember that! 🙂