The Most Dangerous Thing to Say About Your Life

 Photo by  Jared Rice  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

There is an insidious and pervasive attitude that I've noticed in a lot of people that I work with as a coach and encounter in my day to day. To be honest, I think it's hands down the most dangerous attitude you can have about your life, but we toss it around, and phrases related to it, like it's no big deal. It's hugely contagious, too. If you're around someone who's feeling this way, and you're not careful, you'll feel this way too after you hang out with them.

"I'm just in a rut."
"It's fine, whatever."
"I just feel kinda blasé."
"Meh."
"It is what it is."

In this case, I'm not talking about someone being depressed. I'm talking about someone who has resigned themselves to victimhood about everything in their life, even if they're fully capable of doing better for themselves. They've chosen to stay where they are because it's comfortable, easy, and complacent. They refuse to take action and are entrenched in their thinking that this is as good as it gets, so why try harder? Their life isn't full of challenge an opportunity, because they don't want to risk looking stupid. Which, if you ask me, is really fucking stupid because you shouldn't have to drag yourself through your life. What's the point?

Being in a rut is like being in a bath for too long. You drew the bath to the perfect temperature, you tossed some coconut oil and essential oils in, poured in epsom salts, grabbed a tall glass of water, lit a candle, and made yourself feel wonderful. But, after about an hour the water is a weird, dirty, lukewarm broth of your grossness. You really need to pee. Your water glass is empty and you're thirsty again. The candle has burned out, you're covered in coconut oil, and the essential oils are the only thing you can smell. You should really get out because the bath isn't relaxing and lovely anymore, but the thought of stepping out into the cold air of the bathroom, cleaning out the tub, de-coconut oiling yourself, and putting your clothes on sounds like too big of a burden to bear. So, instead of hopping out and getting in a cozy bed for a restorative night of sleep or starting your day, you lay in your own marinade and turn into a prune because it's easier. 

The thing is, most folks will accept a life that's just gross bathwater. Marching through their day to day. Glassy eyed from one obligation to another until they can lay down on the couch and do nothing for a few hours. The thought of doing absolutely nothing is more appealing than continuing on with the activities of their lives. That's messed up. People have just written all of this drudgery off as a normal part of being an adult. Lounging around all weekend is their reward to a lifeless week. I say, no thanks. 

Dr. David Schwartz says that, "A rut is a grave with both ends open." Which sounds dark, but I think is great news. There's an escape route, but like all things in life, you have to choose to not be a victim before you can get out of your rut. This is always the case. You have to choose to be a do-er and make shit happen. No one is going to lift you up out of your rut, and, frankly, it's not their job. Only you can choose to make it happen and find a way to do so. The trouble is, often people in ruts don't realize how much victim thinking they're doing because everything is, fine. People often don't act until there's a crisis, and there's usually never a crisis, so they never have to act. The escape routes close their doors. 

The key here to to look at your life and see what you're holding onto because it's acceptable. It's not your the worst part of your life, but it's fine and you're pretty sure you can't do better. For a lot of people, this is their job. How often do you say or hear a refrain of, "My coworkers are alright, and it pays the bills." Usually this is accompanied with a sigh, shrug, or a swig of whiskey. 

Remember, everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. So if your life is just endless drudgery and the only end in sight is some far off retirement date or grave, it's time to make a change. No matter your age, you're wasting the prime years of your life on something mediocre because you've convinced yourself that it's the best you can do. Believe in better for yourself. It exists and is available to you if you're willing to make a decision to get it. 

The first step to getting out of a rut is to make a decision. You can choose to stay in the rut or you can choose to elevate beyond the rut. If you're in a rut at your job, you could choose to stay in your current job or choose to look for a new job. Either is a great decision, it's just important to decide, commit, and find every reason to support and be excited about your decision. 

Once you start making conscious decisions about how you're choosing to feel about your life, you'll get feedback from the world around you. Maybe you'll find that even when you choose to stay at your job and throw yourself into work with the enthusiasm and positive attitude of a four year old, your company doesn't reward your initiative. This is, again, where you choose how you feel. You could choose to be defeated by this and slink back into your rut. Or, you can take that newfound enthusiasm and positive attitude to a new company where that's valued. 

Getting out of a rut is all about making a choice, choosing to love that choice, choosing to hear feedback from yourself and the world, and then making another decision. It's just decisions all the way down, man. Victims are indecisive, blameless, and directionless. Heroes make decisions, are accountable to their outcomes, and correct course with new information. Which do you choose to be?