Posts tagged: How we get stuck

How to avoid falling into the judgment trap

July 17, 2015

You’ve firmly decided to break that bad habit. After acknowledging an area where you can be better, you’ve put yourself in a place of thoughtful humility. Bravo!

Now, with eyes and mind wide open, you embark on your journey — hopeful and determined and ever attentive to your progress. Naturally, you begin noticing things you never saw before, in yourself and in other people. How they act, how they react to you, what beliefs they have, whether their behavior agrees with your newfound way of doing things. And quite unintentionally, you might find yourself getting a little judgy.

Why can’t he do it this way? Doesn’t she have any awareness? I’ll never be as good at it as that person. And now your motives are getting confused: Are you trying to better yourself or compete with others?

Okay, we admit that casting judgment is part of being human. But when we’re working
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How to get at that idea stuck in your head

June 5, 2015


When a great idea flashes in our brain it feels astounding. Startling. Energizing. The adrenaline makes our eyes open wide, our hands clap together, our spine straighten. We might even let out a whoop of joy before we rush off to tell someone.

But sometimes — between the thinking and the telling — we get a little stuck. The solution that was crystal clear in our head minutes ago is sounding more and more like Dumbledore speaking Gobbledegook when we say it out loud.

This is when we get stuck acting like a Fuzzy Forecaster. It comes with its own special brand of frustration because we can see the possibilities, we just can’t fully grasp them. On the upside, reaching clarity is usually more streamlined than other types of stuck moments. Once we know what’s blocking our communication, there are some pretty easy fixes to adjust our thinking.

To fine-tune your
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This year, let’s get stuck

January 13, 2015

What? Get stuck on purpose?

As counterintuitive as it sounds for a group called Unstuck to promote stuckness, we have a sound reason.

Yes, getting stuck hurts. It’s uncomfortable. Embarrassing. Shameful, even. Or is it?

What if we looked at getting stuck as a starting point rather than a stalled one? What if getting stuck was a sign of better things to come? What if never getting stuck meant that life never got better?

When you think about it that way, being stuck takes on a more positive light. It means we have the courage to admit that something is wrong. It means we have the drive to solve that problem, even if it’s a little bit at a time. It means we can be heroes in our own life.

What’s your lingering stuck moment?

Since we’re at the start of an untarnished new year, it feels like a good time to identify a stuck moment
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You’re doing everything right — but you still feel stuck

December 12, 2014

Stuck moment: I can’t believe she thinks I’m not pulling my weight. I’ve done everything that’s required — what more does she want?

*  *  *

Think of it as the silent stuck moment. There’s nothing wrong, really. What needs to happen happens. Deep down, though, you know something is off. And on the surface, it feels like treading water — tiring and not all that inspiring.

Take it as a sign that it’s time to reflect on your level of accountability in the situation.

There is responsibility — I do what I’m supposed to do — and then there is accountability — I do what it takes. It may seem subtle when put into words, but the difference is palpable when it comes to achieving our goals.

When we’re truly accountable, we’re all in. We’re motivated. We pay attention. We communicate. We battle obstacles and seek solutions. People see it in our facial expressions
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What to do when you can’t decide

December 3, 2014
three faces of indecision

In the days after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, many of us focused on what was missing. The New York City skyline felt bare. The world felt altered. And, in the quiet Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights, an out-of-work actor named Delissa Reynolds sought comfort in the ways she knew best — food, friends, a sense of belonging.

“It was a very tender time,” says Delissa. “People in the neighborhood really drew in together. We’d have weekend gatherings, usually at my house, where anyone could come to hang out, sometimes just over rice and beans.”

These “Sunday dinners” helped transform the experience of loss into a celebration of togetherness. And, for Delissa, they became the spark for Bar Sepia, a pioneering neighborhood bar and restaurant she’d open three years later. Next month, her dream project turns 11 — a milestone unimaginable back in those “tender”
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More patience — is there an app for that?

September 3, 2014

Not so long ago, we at Unstuck experienced a small stuck moment of our own. It began when we opened a customer service email from a potential Unstuck app user, which simply read: ANDROID! NOW!

After a few seconds of shock, we landed on a sense of indignation: How dare this person shout at us this way? We provide free software that helps people. And it works. And it’s free! Doesn’t this shouter know that it costs us time and money to create free apps?

But it nibbled at our subconscious long enough that we decided to turn our indignation into a question: Why did this person feel it was okay to demand — to scream — that we deliver a free Android app?

We’ll spare you our meandering logic and fast-forward to the conclusion: Among all the wonderful things technology does for us, it also feeds a primal desire for instant gratification.
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Is it okay to let someone else call the shots?

August 11, 2014

Stuck moment: I guess I stopped caring enough about what I want. Everything seemed to be going fine, so it was easier to nod and go along with stuff — even if my heart wasn’t in it. But now it feels like I have no say, and that’s kind of cruddy.

 * * *

We get stuck as Drifters when we stop acting in our own best interest. Life’s twists, turns, and demands can weaken our resolve, and in those moments we convince ourselves that things shouldn’t be so challenging. At least that’s our reasoning for taking the path of least resistance. Before we know it, the easy way becomes a habit. So instead of directing our lives according our own wishes and hopes, we just borrow someone else’s. Or we reject the idea of wishing and hoping at all. 

However you got derailed — there are at least four main ways
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7 ways to reduce anxiety

July 1, 2014

Anxiety is paralysis of our mind and heart. It’s like all our excessive worry wraps around our desires and squeezes them inactive. To loosen the grip, seek out soul-nourishing remedies, like the ones here, and consider these 9 tips from Unstuck.

  1. Go to sleep earlier for seven days.
  2. Learn how to breathe properly. Shallow breathing causes anxiety.
  3. Volunteer.
  4. Read. It calms the soul.
  5. Go to a comedy club, or make plans with your funniest friend.
  6. Think about what makes you happy.
  7. Spend a week taking care of yourself.

Thanks to Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin for this list. You can find hundreds more ideas in their book The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery

Learn more about how Karen and Pam got unstuck at read more

7 ways to get to know yourself better

May 22, 2014

Sometimes life gets in the way: Between work and friends and home obligations, it’s hard to find time to just think. And sometimes, we let life get in the way to avoid thinking. That’s a sign that something has you stuck — and you need to start listening to yourself. One of these ideas may help you do that.

1. Spend a weekend alone.2. Challenge your beliefs.3. Forgive someone.4. Spend time in nature.5. Look at old photographs.6. Listen to classical guitar music.7. Stop rushing.

Thanks to Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin for this list. You can find hundreds more ideas in their book The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery.

Learn more about how Karen and Pam got unstuck at read more

3 ways status gets us stuck

May 5, 2014

Stuck moment: New car — check. Personal trainer — check. Impressive job title — check. I am so on track for the good life. But where’s the joy? At the end of the day I just feel…unsatisfied.

 * * *

Status, like so many human inventions, has a stuck side.

In its purest sense, status is a coping mechanism, a way for us to make sense of our world by assigning value to all sorts of things. It’s not a moral compass exactly, but it does give loose guidelines about what’s considered important and not-so in our culture.

Status also greases our economic wheels. The flip-phones we were so jazzed about six years ago are now embarrassing artifacts that have us lining up to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest smartphone.

We crave status, whether it’s bought (penthouse apartment) or not (accomplished children) because, as Alain de Botton strongly posits in his book
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