Over the last week or two, I've felt stuck creatively.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling, like finding that your parking spot has suddenly become too tight. With that new car right in front of you, there’s now too little maneuvering space left to easily get out.
And so there are two options left: awkwardly inching back and forth until you can finally emerge from confinement, like a newborn butterfly leaving the cocoon… or waiting until the owner of the other car comes back.
With my creative block, I’ve tried the waiting approach. Unfortunately, the owner of the car in front of me is… me. And I’m not budging.
So, back to the other option: gradually working my way out of the tight enclosure I’m finding myself in. This requires delicacy, patience, and a soft touch.
Why big steps won’t help when you’re stuck
When we’re stuck creatively or in life, we often want to aim for grand gestures. We want to hit the gas pedal, even if it means bumping into the car in front of us.
However, that doesn’t do anything except create damage. To move from stuck to free in an instant, you’d need ramming speed. And you can’t get to that with too little space to move.
As Brad Stulberg accurately put it:
“Here’s the thing no one tells you about the saying ‘go big or go home’: Most people who go big swiftly end up at home.”
Word! What then, is a better approach? Glad you asked:
Why small steps will help you get out of a rut
Big steps ask too much of us. They ask us to reach escape velocity when gravity is pulling us down.
But here’s the thing… you’re not trying to go up (and escape gravity, like a bunch of Space billionaires), you’re trying to go out.
So you don’t need to battle gravity. You just need to find an escape route. Like in those old cartoons where hardened criminals (the Beagle Boys?) dig their way out of a prison cell with spoons.
When you’re feeling stuck, those are your role models. Not the criminal behavior, mind you, but the dogged persistence with which they pursue their freedom, using small steps (spoons?).
Or, as Martin Luther King Jr. (probably) put it:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
You don’t need to move up the whole staircase at once.
Small steps can make a huge difference. If you let them.
What’s your first step?
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