What causes us to be stuck in life?

Just after D-Day the allied advance wanted desperately to sweep their way into Germany and end the war. However, they were impeded by the hedgerows just beyond the beaches that slowed their advance to a crawl. They were stuck, at least for the moment.

Many people are stuck in the hedgerows of relationships, careers, friendships, what have you, slogging it out day in and day out barely getting anywhere. The struggle is fine, we can learn much from it, but when no breakout in life persists we can usually attribute it to four causes. Each cause cascades down to create the other cause and so on. You can see how each one leads to the other. I’m indebted to Chuck Blakeman of the Crankset Group for stimulating this blog post.

  1. Lack of Purpose. We don’t have a deeper meaning or a more lofty reason for doing what we’re doing. This manifests itself in always making short term decisions that will continue to keep us stuck in the present.
  2. Lack of Commitment. We don’t stick with it when things don’t go our way. We easily throw in the towel and quit before momentum can really pick up.
  3. Lack of Movement. We become overly cautious and fall back on planning and preparing without really going anywhere. How do you steer a ship? Not with the rudder. You steer a ship by getting it going.
  4. Lack of Direction. You’ve heard the old cliche; if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. Doing this creates erratic decision making and unsettled resolve toward anything worthwhile. On the other hand if you know where you are going, you can take anyone (including yourself) with you.

So. To break free of these causes of hedgerows and into a more purposeful life requires some action

  • Action 1. Embrace the fact that we were made for the struggle and that struggle provides the nutrients for wisdom and strength.
  • Action 2. Move from quiet desperation to quiet resolve. Stubbornly persist in the face of challenges and follow your own battle plan for getting out of the hedgerow. It won’t always be pretty but it will get you there.
  • Action 3. Get other people in on your plan. Let them know what you have decided to do and have them hold you accountable for doing. These are outside eyes and are critical to keeping us focused and on track.
  • Action 4. Start. Act. Do something. If you a planning a trip the first thing you determine is where you are going. The second you determine is when are you going to leave. In your journey of life ask yourself where you are going and when you are going to leave. Put a date on it and then do it!

What other causes might keep us in the hedgerows? What other actions might get us out of them?