So recently, I was having a conversation with a friend. The discussion was reflective and insightful. At times, even philosophical. Once we stopped philosophizing, we acknowledged that we could sometimes complicate life with our mindset and thinking. I admitted, "Oh yes, I, too, am guilty of over-analysis." The conversation took many turns primarily because we discussed many topics, some too deeply and others superficially.
We've had many conversations like the one briefly described above. But what stood out this time was when my friend said, "I had so much hope for the future." It almost sounded like he was regretful about his life. So, of course, I had to inquire: what do you mean? He sighed in a way that suggested oh, I can finally talk about this and then he said, "I feel stuck."
Instinctively, I wanted to remind him of all his accomplishments, but as I listened, I realized his previous accomplishments did not concern him. What he hadn't yet achieved made him "feel stuck."
As I recount this conversation, I think the statement, "I had so much hope for the future," was more introspective than I initially thought. Further, for him progress was too slow, but he remained hopeful he would get where he wanted to be. It was a relief to hear him positively frame his follow-up statements in language that suggested he was still looking toward the future with an appreciation for where he is now and where he wants to be.
More important was the realization that "being or feeling stuck" isn't only subjective but very difficult to define in words for the person that is "stuck" and for the listener, especially when the person saying, "I'm stuck" is accomplished in his own right. It's not a concept easily defined with words but more of a feeling deep within a person.
His wanting to get better and slow progress toward his preferred future made him feel "stuck." Sometimes, we can feel stuck in life, but we can improve our situation by evaluating what we are doing and how to manage our emotional responses better.
The feeling that one is "stuck" can be a perception and not necessarily a reality. Still, it's pertinent to recognize that's how the person feels, and it's not a matter of if their feelings are valid. So don't challenge the person's feelings with questions like, "Why would you feel that way, or why do you have to be moping?" Probably, the biggest thing you can offer the person is support because you can never know exactly how someone feels. Therefore, try not to offer unsolicited advice or tell the person how to feel.
Usually, when you feel "stuck," it's an opportunity to tweak a few things; Covey's time management grid may be a helpful tool to redirect your attention to the things necessary for your personal development and productivity.
The future is not perfectly predictable, and if it were, we wouldn't be concerned about it, but to gain perspective, it helps to step back from what you are doing for a big-picture view.
Empowering Minds. Inspiring Lives.