Getting Through The Rut

By Fatmanur Erdogan, Hürriyet Daily News

Life is filled with entrepreneurial ventures.  An entrepreneurial venture can be starting a new business, but it could also be anything else in life that draws on your creativity and adventurous spirit – starting a new job, moving to a new city, going back to school, the list is endless.

However, even the greatest entrepreneurial ventures eventually hit a low point, an extended lull in the excitement, when things seem boring and routine.  At this point, people often find themselves wondering where the magic went.  Some of them give up, disillusioned, and settle back into the old life that came before.

Others, though, push on through these ruts.  What do they know that the others don’t?  They know ruts are almost always followed by periods of great change and creativity, and they patiently wait for the good times to come back.  They know ruts are like the low tide, always followed by the high.  When the tide goes out, the departing water often leaves an exposed beach filled with unsightly rocks and debris.  But the tide inevitably comes back, washing the beach in cool water again and bringing life back to the things that seemed forgotten in the sand.

In addition to knowing no rut lasts forever, these people also know something else important:  They know how to occupy themselves while they are in the rut.  They know if they keep their minds and bodies active even while they are still in the rut, they’ll be in great shape to jump on opportunities the moment the good times come back.  Here are some ways they do that:

They change their routine:  Rather than focusing on what they’ve done lately, they turn their attention to something else.  Once that fresh something else has altered their mindset, they return to their previous task.  But now, they can do it differently and more creatively.  With a fresh perspective, they can tap into energies and resources they’ve never used before.

They get back in touch with themselves:  Whatever their daily activities, they integrate smaller things into their schedules that will relax them and remind them what life is about.  They go for a short walk by the sea, or a swim at a nearby pool, or they go to lunch at a nice restaurant they’ve never been to before.  Whatever they choose to do, they make sure they incorporate some of these small, bite-sized changes into their lives.

They watch how they talk:  When they are pushing through a rut, they monitor what they say and how they say it to friends, family, and colleagues.  They know when we say discouraging things, when we are pessimistic in our conversations, or when we complain incessantly about our stresses in life, we simply intensify our negative emotions and dig the rut deeper.  Thus, they make a conscious effort to ensure their social interactions are positive.  Knowing that national and international affairs often bring too much negativity into our lives, many of them even go so far as to eliminate TV and newspapers, at least for a while.

They reframe their thoughts:  One of the most overlooked, and yet most effective, techniques for breaking out of a rut is to reframe the story.  To push through the rut, these people imagine how their lives would look if viewed from a completely different perspective.  They explain their current situations to themselves, and others, in ways that are interesting, unique, and motivating.  They know reframing cannot magically transform their lives, but it will retrain them to see things in a new light.  Plus, they know that often when we reframe a situation, we see ways forward that we would never have seen in our old mindsets.

When you find yourself stuck in a rut, remember these techniques, and try them out in your own life.  Know that bad times will eventually pass, and good times will eventually return.  And know that the really successful people in life are the ones who know how to push through those low points, so they are still standing when the next, even better good times come along.

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