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Don’t Wait for a Breakthrough Moment: Create One!

Don’t Wait for a Breakthrough Moment: Create One!

    Potential and Possibilities

    We’ve all had breakthrough moments in our lives. Moments when a switch flicked, a light went on and a door to a new world of potential and possibilities opened up for us. For most of us, the door was always there to be opened but, for a range of reasons, we never turned the handle. Until that day.

    Ignoring Reality

    Invariably, the switch-flicking and door-opening (the internal shift) was the result of a situation, experience or circumstance that we found ourselves in. And it was usually an unpleasant one. My first big breakthrough moment came after many smaller and less embarrassing, but similar, moments. It’s fair to say I was (am) a slow learner. The lessons, the signs and the indicators (to change, to listen, to pay attention) were all there for me, but for the longest time I did my best to ignore them. I never allowed reality to get in the way of the stories I told myself.

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    And what stories I told.

    One of my favourites was the “it doesn’t matter that you weigh more than your teachers and you’re only fourteen” fairytale. I fooled not only my friends but also myself.

    Or so I thought.

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    The Beginning of the End

    For me, the beginning of the end (of my fat, unhappy self) came at a school swimming carnival when I found myself standing on a starting block at the end of a pool next to seven other kids who weighed as much as my breakfast. It was the painful reality check I needed but clearly, didn’t want. It’s hard to hide 90kgs (200lbs) of teenage lard when you’re semi-naked and perched on a block of concrete with hundreds of people staring at you. Humiliation would have been a pleasant improvement on what I felt in that moment.

    Transformational Pain

    Although that experience was a painful one for me, it was also something that led me to make decisions and embrace behaviours which transformed my life (on many levels), and I believe, changed the course of my destiny. If I hadn’t experienced that feeling, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. I am grateful for that experience because it forced me to step into reality, to acknowledge who and what I was, and to take charge of my mind, my body and my life. And yes, it happened in that order (mind, body, life).

    Even though I had that revelation at a relatively young age (fourteen), I often look back and realise that I always had the potential to create incredible and lasting change. Over the last thirty (or so) years I have consciously and diligently worked to make the decisions, changes and adjustments before I found myself standing on that starting block again.

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    So to speak.

    The fit, lean, stronger, happier, more productive and creative (version of) me was always in there; I just needed to let him out.

    I don’t know (most of) you, but if you’re like the majority then I know that you have more ability, potential and possibilities than you have ever imagined. If amazing (and lasting) results are what you’re after then my advice to you is:

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    Don’t wait for a breakthrough moment: create one!

    So, why don’t you choose to make a breakthough this week? Just because you can.

    Tell us about your breakthrough moments (in the past or present) or just say hi and share your thoughts on this post. And yes, that means you Lurkers (non-commentors) too.

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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