Getting Unstuck, Part III: Buying Your Way Out Of Trouble

We all get stuck.
We get stuck in our fears and other feelings, in our pain, and in our choices.

In Part 1, Fear on Ice, we explored feeling trapped in a situation that we want to escape from, where we’re afraid to remain, and afraid to change.

In Part 2, Too Many Choices, we looked at having too many choices, and not being able to choose between them.

We also get trapped when we look for solutions to the challenges that face us. 

Solutions are great.  The problem arises when we keep jumping from one solution to another, without taking real action with any of them. 
What do I mean?

What if I have a particular goal? Let’s say I want to start an Internet Business. I’ve got a pretty good idea why I want to do it, but I seem unsure what to do first.

Ok, so I look for and find an apparent solution. (There’s always someone waiting to sell me a solution, right? And there are many practical solutions out there.)

What happens next?

Example 1:
Diana struggles with the unfamiliar ideas of the solution, and some of the actions required that make her uncomfortable. And she takes action, makes mistakes, and learns. The unfamiliar ideas become familiar, and the uncomfortable actions become more comfortable. She faces more challenges, and uses additional ideas, solutions, and help when she needs it. She keeps moving in the direction of her goal.

Example 2:
Brian also struggles with the unfamiliar ideas, and the uncomfortable actions required by the solution. He focuses on listening or viewing the materials in the course. He reads the message boards, maybe even makes some great comments. He listens to all the calls.

But he doesn’t take any significant action beyond exploring the course.
After a while he can’t stand the discomfort of not getting anywhere, and he looks for a “better” solution. It’s the Internet after all, so he has no trouble finding another solution. Maybe it’s better than the first one, or maybe it’s not.

He’ll have an opinion on which one he likes better. But he’ll probably never know which one of the solutions fits him better.
He’d have to take action, and really exercise the solutions to know how effective they are for him.

This can go on for years.
Sometimes Brian finally gets tired of doing nothing, and takes action.
Sometimes he runs out of spare cash.
Sometimes he gives up on his dream, and tells himself he’s hopeless.

I think the last case is the worst of all.
Unless you’re accumulating debt through endless, fruitless attempts, I think it’s better to keep the dream and do nothing, than give up the dream entirely.
With the dream still alive, there’s the possibility that you’ll find some way to reach it.

But either way it’s sad.

Many of us are all too familiar with our friend Brian.
We’ve bought books, e-books, software, audios, DVDs, seminars, and even mentoring that we’ve put to little use.

Welcome to our consumer society. You’re trained to look for solutions outside of yourself, and there are only a few dollars that stand between you and that perfect solution.

And truthfully, is $27, $97, $297, or even $2997 too much to spend if that’s all that separates you from your dreams?

There’s nothing wrong with looking for information and help outside of yourself. Human beings are extraordinarily adept at working with others, and at using tools and ideas to accomplish great things. And there’s nothing wrong with paying for help, or ideas.

You must be confused by now.
First I complain that we’ve been trained to look outside ourselves for solutions, and then I talk about how good we are at leveraging help from outside of us.
Make up your mind, Joel.

Here’s the heart of the matter.
Do we first look for solutions within ourselves?
Do we look to apply something we already know?
Do we look to take action as soon as possible?

Or do we react to a challenge or problem by looking for something or someone else to solve our problems? And do we look for a solution that requires us to do little or nothing?

There’s something seriously wrong with that.

Hey, I don’t believe in doing unnecessary work. There are plenty of things that I can do with my time. I’m not trying to fill up the hours.

But we have the wrong idea about action. We think it just uses up our time that could be better spent relaxing, or being entertained, or even learning about something.

Action is the most extraordinary teacher there is. When I take action, it changes me and it teaches me. Action switches me “on”. It puts me in an extraordinarily receptive state to learning, and to further action.

I’ve got to think of action as something that transforms me, not as something that wastes my time and uses up my life. It’s action, not money, which is the key to getting unstuck.

And the secret to taking action is simple. Do something, anything in the direction of your dreams.

(Take a look at this blog entry from Ken McArthur on Internet Success and Taking Action)

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