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What it's like to feel stuck in life. How to get unstuck


I've noticed something very striking about the people who come to see me complaining that they're feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or "so confused"... After a while, it often becomes clear that they are much more talented and much more ambitious than average.

Can I conclude that, if you feel confused or stuck, this is a sure sign that you have above average capabilities?

Well, Albert Einstein, as a child, was a slow learner. We cannot conclude from this that all slow learners will turn out to be geniuses. But we can certainly be open to the possiblity that at least some slow learners might turn out to develop into very smart people.

So I am open to the possibility that people who feel stuck might turn out to be people with the potential to achieve a lot, once they resolve the stuckness that holds them back.




What is it like to feel stuck? When you're stuck in a rut, it saps your ability to get unstuck. An image comes to mind: Remember the old cartoons where there's a character thinking really hard about something? The character is walking around in a circle, on and on, until the ground under his feet is eroded. The groove keeps getting deeper and deeper.

When you feel stuck, you keep treading the same circular path, asking yourself the same questions over and over again. In so doing, you create a groove. And you find it increasingly harder to get out of that groove.

So how can you get unstuck? There is no sense digging deeper into the groove where you’re stuck. You need to take a different approach, to change the way you see things… You need to get outside the groove, so that you can get a new perspective. This is very much like the way one finds an answer to a Zen koan.

In Zen, a koan is a statement that cannot be understood by reason alone. For instance: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Understanding a koan doesn't mean that you come up with a lot of words about it. You have to go beyond logical thinking. You let your whole mind-body-spirit resonate with the koan.

This gives you insights, which may or may not be easy to articulate into words. But whatever words you come up with, they will be rich in meaning for you. Because these words have a direct connection to what is truly meaningful to you: the experience itself.


To get unstuck, I help you connect with a felt sense of what you really want... your real goals... something that is going to motivate you at a gut level... a powerful drive that will help you break through the vicious cycle.

Earlier in this page, I mentioned "seeing things from a different perspective". What I am talking about is getting in touch with where the energy really is, with the depth of your own motivation, with what you really want.

It's amazing how often people who get stuck are people who cannot let themselves be really aware of what they want, because they believe, deep down, that they cannot have it!

Often, people who feel stuck are bumping their heads against "shoulds" that conflict with what they really want: It feels so impossible to get what you want that you don't even have conscious access to it. You just feel a sense of defeat and powerlessness and confusion. Like a fog that makes it impossible to see where you're going.

The sun that burns this fog off is experiencing the felt sense of who you are and what you want. Your motivation.

Of course, motivation alone is not enough. All this freed-up energy has to be channeled into a realistic plan, and into consistent efforts to overcome the inevitable obstacles. This combination of motivation, planning and follow-through is what makes change happen.



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