Stuck in a Rut? You Need a Kick in the Ass Towards the Rest of Your Life
By Ariel Nishli
Life is a series of momentum-building starts and screeching halts. Hopefully, we experience the vast majority of our lives in forward motion, building meaningful relationships, a sense of purpose, and cultivating happiness.
Unfortunately, that pesky little thing we all harbor, known as the human condition, can often get in our way, shattering the status quo and our dreams. This sorry state is exactly where the clients of David Rea, Emotional Trainer, find themselves… stuck.
In every episode of Koldcast TV’s sexy drama Stuck, Rea, a cynic and nihilist, uproots his clients from their comfort zones and his methods are brutal. While he makes it his business to give them “a kick in the ass towards the rest of their life”, we witness the amusing irony of his own personal life collapsing around him.
Watch the Prologue to the sexy drama series STUCK: The Chronicles of David Rea
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People of all stripes and colors get stuck in existential ruts. A plethora of self-help books, articles, and websites are right there to meet them with the same stew of motivational advice: utter positive affirmations, change your routine, imitate someone who is where you want to be, etc.
We found a far more effective method for shaking up your view of the world: watch a few episodes of Stuck and imagine being on David Rea’s client list. Let the much-needed torment begin. In the spirit of Rea’s rather unconventional techniques, here are just a few unusual ways to refill that motivational gas tank.
Don’t clear your head with a walk. Clear your schedule for a cross-country drive.
We’ve heard it from friends, teachers and parents for years on end. When you feel depressed, take a nice long walk to clear the cobwebs out from that fuzzy head of yours. Though unless you’re Oscar Pistorius, those walks only last so long, and you always end up right back where you started.
It’s time to take things further. Pack a suitcase with nothing but the essentials, download Google Maps, and spin out. You’ve heard the old adage that “you can’t find yourself until you’re lost.” Well now’s the best time to lose yourself in the most exciting possible way: a spontaneous road trip.
With a destination in mind – any destination – and a mindset that the journey is the reward, you’re bound to meet some inspirational people, do some much-needed thinking, and see this great country in an entirely new light when you get back – if you decide to come back at all.
Don’t throw away your clutter. Throw a blowout party.
If it’s not brain encroaching cobwebs that traditional motivators are trying to get you to clear away, it’s the physical, space-sucking cobwebs of clutter. As Charles Goodrich – the Tony Robbins of his day – exclaimed in 1827, the first step towards thinking clearly is ensuring “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
Now, we don’t mean to knock Chuck’s logic because living like a slob won’t get you anywhere fast. There are times though when simply embracing your animalistic side and partying like one is the only way to get yourself feeling good again.
Rather than calculating how much of your clutter you should trash, throwing an all-out party that effectively trashes your place is surprisingly therapeutic. The bigger the next morning’s mess, the bigger your “living life to the fullest” badge becomes! A boozy soiree filled with shenanigans, hijinks, and silliness is just the reminder we need that life is short and what seems like a crisis now… isn’t.
Your issues often just need a little space to breathe. Surrounding yourself with your favorite friends and strangers for a short celebration can go a long way towards energizing a cluttered mind to get back to work. And besides, if you do it right, your place will be in such disarray that you’ll be forced to clear out that clutter anyway.
Can’t see change on the inside? Change what you see in the mirror.
We know the key to all the self-reflection hullaballoo out there is looking within. Find that deep-seated emotional block or recurring negative thought pattern and nip it in the bud, right? Well, listen bud, sometimes you just need to get out of that head of yours and work from the outside in.
It’s in that spirit that we suggest visiting your neighborhood costume store or desperate hairstylist and donning some version of a disguise. It’s the extreme example of forcing a smile even when you’re unapproachably depressed.
The guy rollerblading in a parrot suit whistling a tune from a car insurance commercial is allowing his true self to be expressed in the safety of that feathered helmet. The lady sitting in the dentist’s office waiting room sporting a full-on Rocky Horror Picture Show costume isn’t nervous. She’s giggling at the struggle for politeness being endured by nearby onlookers. If these folks are actually in a rut, it’s their own little secret.
Save money on a shrink. Hire a boxing coach instead.
Feel like life keeps knocking you down? It’s not enough to keep getting up only to hit the mat again. Time to swing back, punk. They might as well be called confidence lessons, because when you learn to box from a proper trainer, the world suddenly feels a lot weaker than you.
Not that you should be itching for a fight, but surviving the grinding conditioning exercises, learning how to land a left hook properly, and witnessing the growth of muscles you never knew you had are all insanely effective ways to prepare for a brawl, be it physical or existential.
Boxers and rut-dwellers are notorious for not knowing when to quit. A trainer knows what your safety zone is, and they’ll push you right over the edge to expand those self-imposed limits. A therapist or counselor will usually keep you in that warm and gooey place for as long as they can until carefully breaking out the big guns – daddy issues, narcissism, or whatever the issue may be. Why not just take those issues to the ring and beat the crap outa them instead?
The litmus test for all these out-of-the-box paths towards reclaiming your sanity is how they rub up against that comfort zone you’ve built up. If you can’t so much as picture yourself embarking on an impromptu drive to the world’s biggest thimble or shaving a reverse Mohawk into tour head – even just for laughs – the time is ripe to rethink what’s keeping you in that rut and rise above.
CT Goodson contributed to this story.
Ariel Nishli is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sixth Wall. He’s got a big apple in his heart but moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2007, he worked in the motion picture literary department at ICM, then moved on to feature film development at Parkes MacDonald Productions. Ariel’s wardrobe has steadily devolved from designer suits to worn out slippers, as he now focuses on screenwriting and journalism when he’s not obsessing over this blog.
CT Goodson is an independent writer from Chicago. She is an active board member of a Chicago area writers group that promotes the education and support of writers of all genres. She is currently working on a novel while resisting the urge hooky bob.