Two kinds of ruts

  1. Everyday is a new challenge, but you’re plateauing. “I’m working my butt off, so why aren’t the numbers going up?”
  2. Everyday is the same, but you’re losing your mind. “I have my routine and safety, and yet…”

In the first kind of rut, there’s a creeping temptation to settle back into the old routine. You’re not getting any better at your craft. You’re getting standing ovations from crickets. Your podcast downloads are the same as last week’s. “Is that accounting firm still hiring?” The way out of this rut is to accept that this is what you signed up for. You signed up for a life of unpredictability. You signed up to make things that might not work. Take the job at the accounting firm if this is too much for you. You’ll survive, but you won’t live.

In the second kind of rut, the “and yet…” is the lingering feeling that there’s something more to life than this. There’s not. Not to this kind of life. There’s nothing more to a life of routine and safety than more routine and safety.

If you’re stuck in the second kind of rut, the way out is to live a different kind of life. I’m not suggesting that you change your name, move to a new city, and start a claymation studio. But you need to drop your reliance on predictability. You need to understand that a paycheck is not the only thing that guarantees next week’s dinner and running water.

Gradual exposure is the best way to adapt to any environment that won’t kill you. You can learn to swim in the pool of unpredictability by wading through shallow waters. No need to dive headfirst into the deep end.

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