7 Reasons You’re Stuck – Part 1


Do you ever feel stuck?  Do you ever wonder how to get un-stuck?

One of my favorite movies is the comedy Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray.  In the film, Murray plays television weatherman Phil Connors, whose self-absorbed persona is given its due come-uppance when he is entered into a time-loop that forces him to relive February 2nd, Groundhog Day, repeatedly.

Unfortunately for most people, living in a loop where we repeat the same day endlessly is not a situation comedy.  It’s life.  Last year was pretty much the same as the year before, which was pretty much the same as the year before that.

If you want this year to be different, you should become familiar with the enemy.  Namely, the causes of your repetition.  In this 4-part series, we’re going to examine why people get “stuck.”

Reason #1: You need certainty

All of us are built with an internal governor that ensures self-preservation.  Our subconscious mind is constantly assessing risks and guiding our behavior accordingly.  Should I cross the street now?  Is the water deep enough to jump?  How hot is that coffee?  This natural level of risk assessment is healthy and necessary.  However, for many of us, we have been programmed to crank up the volume on that little voice and our gentle minder has turned into an unyielding dictator.  We dare not move unless we are absolutely “certain” that the outcome will be a positive one.

That kind of certainty will never come.  And thus, we remain where we are.bigstock-Are-You-Sure-45817090

Certainty is a myth.  Until we take action, we will never know 100% what the outcome will be.  Needing certainty creates stagnation and prevents movement.

The heart of this need for certainty is a fear of failure and a belief that failure is our enemy.  We’ve been conditioned to avoid failing at all costs.  We raised our hand in class once and when we got the answer wrong, the other kids laughed at us.  “Whoa.  Better not do that again.”  We took out a small loan for that business idea we had and we lost our money and are still paying that loan back.  “Yikes.  You’re terrible at business.  Better stick to what’s safe.”

Failure is NOT your enemy.  Failure is your friend.  It is only through failure that any of us have ever succeeded at anything.  We had to fall down on the bike multiple times to learn to ride it.  We had to miss the free throws over and over again to learn to make them.  We had to pronounce the word incorrectly to be told how to pronounce it correctly.  Failure has always been your path to success and will always be your path to success.  Write this down:  To avoid failure is to forfeit success.  That answer you got wrong in class?  You were the one with courage to try it!  Way to go!  And that business that went under?  You’re in great company!  Henry Ford, Donald Trump, Walt Disney, H.J. Heinz, George Foreman, Milton Hershey (the chocolate guy), P.T. Barnum, and Stan Lee (Marvel creator) are just a few of the wildly successful business people who had to file for bankruptcy prior to achieving success.  Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, founded a previous company called Traf-O-Data that was a failure.  Sony, the electronics powerhouse, did not initially have success.  Akio Morita, the founder, began the company by trying to sell a rice cooker.  The rice cooker burned the rice and less than 100 units were sold.  Instead of giving up, Mr. Morita took what he learned from that process and applied the learning to new products, causing Sony to become the giant that we know today.  Harland Sanders, founder of KFC, was rejected by 1,000 restaurants before finding someone willing to try his chicken.  R.H. Macy was a total failure in the beginning.  His first four retail stores all went under.  Today, Macy’s is one of the most enduring retail brands.

How do you get over the need for certainty?  Replace your desire for certainty with a desire for feedback.  Don’t want certainty.  Want experience.  What you call failure is really feedback.  What worked?  What didn’t?  That feedback is priceless and it is what we really want.  The faster we get feedback, the faster we get better.

Reason #2: Letting obstacles obscure goals

When most of us begin a journey, our mind immediately begins to identify the resources we will need.  “I’ll have to have this and that, and this much time, and that many people.”  Right away, we’re going to find that we’re missing key pieces.  We’re also going to find that the road ahead is not straight and 100% paved.  We’ll see barriers and potholes, and sometimes chasms with no visible bridge.

obstacle1At that point most of us determine that we’ll have to set the journey aside for now, telling ourselves that we’ll move forward when we have everything necessary or the obstacles are fewer.

Of course, that day never comes.

Instead of focusing on what we lack or what stands in our way, we should focus on what we really want and why we want it so badly.  Imagine your favorite athlete saying, “well, I would run for a touchdown but all those giant guys are in my way.  I’ll wait until they’re not here anymore.”  What if your favorite band had said, “I’d make music but there are so many people trying to get discovered and all the clubs are already booked with bands, so let’s just do something else?”

The goal and the “why” behind the goal must be bigger than any obstacle.  When you focus on the mountaintop everything standing between you and reaching the peak fades into the background.  You will begin to see solutions and alternative routes, and your internal creative genius will go to work in your favor.

Leave your feedback in the comments section.  Let’s spur one another on to greatness!  Then Continue reading Part 2, where I address the next two reasons you get stuck.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Glen

    Great article, exactly what I needed to hear.

    FYI – don’t know why, but on iOS, the page seems to load fine, but at the last second, the article text disappears completely.

    • Glen, 

      Thanks for the feedback.  I’m sorry about the issue you had.  I can’t recreate that issue.  I’ve tried on multiple iOS devices.  

    • Glen – I was able to identify the issue and I believe it has been corrected. Can you please try it and let me know? Thanks!

  • Davidsposato

    Everyone needs to read this!!

  • Kaylee Miller

    Scott, thank you for this article! Sometimes it seems as though the odds are stacked against us, but in reality we have an enemy even within our our own subconscious believing we have to be “sure” before moving forward, minimizing risk of failure. Out of troubles and hard times we have seen the most beautiful things unfold even being as young as we are. God has great things planned, but never simple and without risk or hardships! Life is an incredible journey, thank you for bringing us back to the right perspective, can’t wait to read the follow up!

    -Bryce and Kaylee Miller, KS 

    • As the old saying goes, “you + God = a majority!”

  • Tracey Coker

    This is great! Exactly what i needed this morning. I can’t wait to read the rest of it. God created us to be champions, and it’s amazing how we let the unknown and fear cause us to forget that. Those are the two things I struggle with the most. Thanks Scott!

  • Egarivay

    This is so true!  SO who cares how much you fail – its the never giving up!  Seeing what you want and getting YOU where You need to be to achieve!  Thanks Scott!

  • Jenny, Allen, TX

    Thank you for this Scott.  I am moving forward in 2013 and cannot wait to see what is in store for me.  I am turning off all that negativity!  This is really helpful and I appreciate you posting it!
    -Jenny, Allen, TX

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  • Thanks for that amazing article Scott. Fear hasnt been my obstacle its finding the ones who really truely with every fiber in their body want to have success. Not alone just say they do, but also put action behind the words. Thanks again my friend.

  • John Delley

    Obstacles are merely stepping stones to success! The only certainty in life is change itself . . . Thanks Scott for training camp!