If you’re not happy with the terrain you’re treading, it could be that long ago, distracted by your obligations, tiredness, social media, and love-hate relationship with mediation, that you missed the sign that read ‘Make Changes Now—Or This Is Only Going To Get Worse’
If you’re pursuing greatness, pulling your soul through the eye of a needle in one of the many creative trenches, attempting something new and against-the-grain, or are trying to solve a complex problem, struggle, toil, hardship, is perhaps the only certainty—and yes, this includes being stuck in a rut now and again. But being stuck in the same rut, or climbing out only to fall back in moments later, over and over again, is likely a symptom the suggests an alteration to your philosophy. If your motivation is low, energy lower, hope non-existent; if your curiosity, passion, zest, has been taken to the cleaners and is yet to return; if you’re stuck on a dinghy in the middle of lake Windermere and have lost your paddles; if you feel like something is wrong, like you don’t care, of feel uncertain about your goals, the path you’re walking, the destination ahead; if you’re in the mighty plateau, there is hope.
First, is to make sure you are taking care of things locally—that you are eating correctly, by eating real food, and keeping blood sugar levels stable over course of day (and coming of sugar altogether, if possible); and exercising, through weight-training and/or long walks; and sleeping, for 6–8 hours, preferably after a light meal (or no meal), that stabilises your insulin, or at least doesn’t spike it (low GI foods; fat-based snacks; fibrous grub). Looking after yourself is first priority when you’re stuck—always. The discipline will do good things.
Second, is a reassessment of your motivational systems—your north star, your plans, your reasons for doing what you are doing (e.g., do you even like that physics course you’re on? that soccer scholarship? that…) Perhaps the greatest thing you can do for yourself—whether you want to get out of a hole, give yourself meaning, change the world, live the best and most fruitful life you can—is to make absolutely clear to yourself, preferably in writing, a Hell to avoid and a Heaven to strive for.
‘He who has a why can bear almost any how,’ said Nietzsche. This is not, as most who hear it think, a pessimistic claim about how to ‘get by’; Nietzsche was a hater of life, yes, but he also brought us the Uberman, whose purpose, in a shallow nutshell, was to overcome life. What Nietzsche meant by the ‘why’ was, essentially, purpose: he who has a purpose can bear almost any how. But this purpose cannot be any old, trifle, saggy purpose; it must be a purpose chosen by you, that is much bigger than you, that energises you—else it will not serve its most important function: endurance for the inevitable suffering.
Life is hard; and if you want to have above average results, you are going to need to put in the hours—and many of them suck. This is what seperate those who are serious from those who aren’t. No, the purpose of Life is not happiness—at least is shouldn’t be. That said, there is a difference between purposeful struggle, and delusional struggle. You have to be honest with yourself—is what you are doing right now what you really want? and do you want to be a Mathematician? and are you interested? Whatever the case, whatever the domain, whatever ditch one finds themselves stuck in, vividly picturing what you don’t want to happen—and what could well happen, if you don’t get your act together.
Steps one and two are complementary; the latter, getting your act together after mimainign how bad things could get, is looking after yourself and being disciplined, which is the former. They power the flywheel—the flywheel that is your inspiration, happiness, satisfaction, enjoyment, your fuel.