WHAT DO NEXT?

Stuckness: Simply Fear, In Disguise…

[ Reading time ~ 5 minutes. ]

INTRODUCTION

Plans are great. Plans are comforting. Plans give you an idea of what to do next. But a plan is just a plan – it does not come with any guarantees that things will work out as you – er – planned.

Sometimes you have to ‘move’ without a plan. For now. You have to twist and turn (and possibly reverse) until a plan becomes obvious.

That’s kind of the idea behind this piece. A post I first wrote in 2016, a long long time before Covid-19 turned everyone’s world of “knowing what to do next” upside down. But it’s still relevant – now, or back then, or any time you find yourself not knowing what to do…

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

01. RECOGNISE THAT YOU’RE STUCK

You get stuck sometimes. Either there’s something important you need to do, but there’s other things that need to be done, too. Or nothing actually seems important to do. Or there are just too many things to do.

You can call it a temporary confusion. An irresistible inertia. Or you can simply call it overwhelm. (Or call it not knowing what words to write next!) You get stuck sometimes, you get stuck.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

Quick, unhelpful-but-true, answer: you do nothing, but you do something.

Hmm, funnily enough this familiar-to-us-all feeling comes from a simple misunderstanding: that there is a right way to turn next, that one form of action is going to be a better form than another.

And so the stuck place comes when this next ‘right move’ becomes unclear to you, so unclear that you literally can’t do anything for fear it might not be the best thing to do.

The remedy?

02. DO ‘SOMETHING’, ANYWAY

Do something, anything, anyway. And keep doing so until. Until it’s time to stop doing. Or until it becomes clearer what to do next.

And it will always be come clearer, it always does.

Call it inner knowing. Call it clarity. Call it irresistible inspiration. The fog always clears in the end, always.

And all because you did something, took a next step, even if that next step was to stop and rest.

You get stuck sometimes.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO NOT KNOW WHAT’S BEST…

03. ALLOW YOURSELF TO NOT KNOW

Allow yourself to not know what to do, then, to not know what’s best. Because you don’t, remember. But do something, say something, write something! (As I did with this particular piece.)

The real problem here is not that you don’t know what to do next.

  • The real problem is that you think you need to know this before you do something, anything.
  • The real problem is that you’re comparing this moment to a better one you’ve imagined.
  • The real problem is that you are not always okay with your experience of yourself

Thinking and planning is useful, of course.

But the misuse of thinking, the misuse of planning, is the scourge of modern, westernised human existence.

The same goes for the misuse of comparing one moment with another, of comparing me with you, or you with you.

It is okay to be not okay with yourself. Just as long as you realise that that is all that’s going on. Nothing else is happening; it means nothing else.

You get stuck sometimes. Because you think you know what’s best for you. And you don’t. You just think you do.

Overwhelm, confusion, and ‘paralysis’ is merely nature’s kindly (polite, but firm) way of saying, “Stop it!”

You get stuck sometimes.

O-kay, what next?…

CONCLUSION

Getting stuck is another way of saying, “I don’t know what’s the best thing to do now, and I’m so uncomfortable with not knowing that I’m not going to do anything until I do know what’s best.” Sometimes, if we’re lucky, then we always know what next to do. Other times, less so.

In those times, more thinking is not helpful. In those times, we just need to do something, do anything, and to respond accordingly. Chances are this action will be able to guide us as to what next we need to do. But if not, and we’re still unclear, take another action. And another, and another.

How Stuck Are You?

But that’s what I think, how I see things. I also think that YOU need to see this for yourself, and not just take my word for it. Especially, if you find yourelf stuck right now, not sure what to do next:

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