Unstick Your Rut

The port of brownsville, WA

Unstick Your Rut

Some days it feels like my thinking gets stuck in a rut. My creativity dims. The world becomes black and white and looses its pizazz. And, my ability to innovate and problem-solve comes to a screeching halt. I think I finally figured out why.

There is an old folk tale that a preacher bet his buddy that he could get his horse to walk up the stairs in his house. He had a secret strategy that guaranteed he would win: He used blinders. Blinders are small squares of firm leather that attach to the bridle at the side of the horse’s head to prevent the horse from seeing anything other than straight ahead. One step after another, the horse continues in the direction it looks. Naturally, the horse walked up the stairs and the preacher won the wager.

I’ve written before about the power of words. This week I was thinking about the difference between an internal monologue and an internal dialogue. Most of us move through our day unaware that there is a constant monologue running. We are unaware because we have grown accustomed to it. It’s always been there. The first step to breaking out of your rut is to recognize that the monologue is there. 

The second step (and this is a huge) is to realize that you are not the voice. Full stop. That is worth sitting back and pondering a bit. Not to get metaphysical on you but if you can stop and hear the monologue, “you” must be separate from it. This is important to realize because your free will and your ability to choose depend on it. If you are the voice, you don’t have a choice. 

The next step is to start a dialogue. Ask questions. Better questions leads to better answers. Become curious. If you really want to experience a breakthrough write out the answers to the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • What did I make it mean?
  • What are three potential ways that my perception could be false?
  • Who could I interview about this that has a significantly different (or even radically different) perspective that I do?

If you want to get out of your rut, take your blinders off and start a dialogue with yourself.