Zanzibar - Joose Digital Photography

Stuckness and Change

posted in: WORDS ON CHANGE

I’ve felt stuck more than a few times in my life and being a believer in owning my situations and reactions to them, I always look to things I can learn or change to unstick things. I think it’s a popular tactic, one which is often used wrongly to explain why certain groups of people seem to be constantly stuck – that they don’t do enough themselves to fix their situations.

When we are talking about change, the kind that people want, a change of prospects, a change in difficult circumstances, to feel better, to get over something, the kind of change that’s welcome; stuckness is one of the things that gets in its way. Stuckness is more than just an obstacle, its ‘the’ something left when all the normal means of getting around problems have been exhausted.

Say for example, you are unemployed, looking for work, you’ve written a killer CV, you’ve applied for many jobs, you’ve looked in new places, put lots of energy behind it but nothing has changed, no offers of employment have come. The result is stuckness.

Self help books would have us believe that it’s a change of attitude that’s necessary, thinking positive, attract good things to you, have self belief, implying that within us lies the answer to any kind of stuckness. That by changing something internal we can remove the obstacle/s to change – we can unstick ourselves. But, real life shows us that this is only half of the picture, there are also external obstacles which can lead to stuckness. For example, war, political systems; other people, things outside of our control, things that throw up barriers that no amount of ‘willing’ internally on ourselves can remove. If you are trapped by some unhappy accident in a war zone, willing things to change by working on yourself, fighting the internal battles, might at best get you in a more calm state of mind, but all the thinking positive in the world is not going to stop bombs dropping on you.

Stuckness is real. There is a puzzle though, unique to an individual, to find where the line is between lack of gusto in fixing and where genuine stucknss begins or in how valid the ‘feeling’ on stuckness is. For in the human condition the effects of the ‘feeling’ are not less than the effects of the ‘reality’. This is fundamental to understanding how change can happen aka unstuckness.