Sunday, January 30, 2011

why do you?

Why do you do what you do? Think about your daily routine, the steps you take as you first awake to the point when you lie down again. For some people those are drastic steps. I think about those in the military or those on rotation at a hospital. I think of police officers and fire fighters and folks who work the swing shift. Then of course there are the millions who slog through their day with such similarity that if we were able to shift a few thousand faces around they might not be able to tell the difference.

So you have a mental picture painted of your day, so to speak; now answer the question. Why do you do what you do? This is not meant to be vague but exploratory. If you go for the pat answer that you do it for the money, then so be it. Maybe you do it for the fame or the notoriety, if so then good for you. Whatever the reason, I know you have one. But here is the concerning thought; you do what you do because it's what you've done for quite some time now. If this is so then you, my friend, are in a rut.

Could you pull yourself out of that rut if you wanted to? Early pioneers that traveled west often came in wagons. The trails they carved created ruts because of the wagon wheels. The earliest explorers made their own way but those that followed did so by staying in the ruts of the wagons that had gone before. In some cases, ruts were so deep that even if a family or group wanted to change course, they couldn't because they could not lift their wagon out of the rut and they would travel for hundreds of miles because of it.

The ruts we get ourselves in are often because of a similar nature, but instead of a tangible track we can see, there is often a psychological road that we travel…one that we would have a very difficult time of getting off of unless something drastic happened.

The drastic is our worst nightmare. No one wants it but we all know it's possible. Career plans get altered, medical crises happen, people die...things change. The inevitable is that we will all face something like this in our lifetime; some folks will endure changes like this many times. In those instances we find ourselves out of the routine, out of the mundane, away from the norm and of course; out of a rut.

Another truth in all of this is that some folks actually like being in a rut. The simplicity of a routine is easy to follow, almost mindless if you will. If your day to day can occur without much thought, the idea is that you have more capacity to concentrate on different things. The unfortunate thing is here that very few people have that kind of capacity, or choose to use it. Most people exist in that mindless place and become complacent, not because they are stupid but because they are lazy. Getting out of a rut will always take a great deal of work and often some sacrifice.

Our lives are full of choices but most of them are like rhetorical questions; we know the answers. The occasional tough question that comes along may jar us from our routine for a moment but it will not derail us. There are only two ways to get out of a rut; circumstances that are beyond your control or a conscience decision on your part followed by the actions necessary to complete the change.

I would hate to suggest that your rut is a bad thing but often it is unhealthy. Consider for a moment that the reason you do what you do is because you have not thought of any good alternatives. Now would be a good time to think of options. The main reason for this is the fact that if you don’t, that unforeseen circumstance is waiting right around the corner. Our ruts are our own doing and unless we plan ahead, it is quite possible that we will travel for hundreds of miles with little to no choice.

I get why you do what you do….do you?

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