We imagine that when we are thrown out of our usual ruts all is lost, but it is only then that what is new and good begins. While there is life there is happiness. There is much, much before us.-Lev Tolstoy
Oh, how dangerous those ruts are! How deeply they can harm us; how deceitful their attractiveness! So many of us like to be in ruts and be “comfortable” doing the same things repeatedly–but the human being wasn’t made to do the same things constantly. We stagnate if we get too comfortable and cease to take risks and try new things, yet many of us feel that stepping out of the ruts represents a risk that’s too dangerous to take, for it may destroy us.
But that’s not true. There are times when ruts are pretty good to have–providing a safe and steady home for our children, comes to mind–, but for the most part, we thrive as human beings when we step out of our safety zones and try new and different things. We grow when we test our limits and when we don’t do the same things today that we’ve done for the last zillion days. Whether we’re thrown out of our ruts (layoffs, broken relationships, etc.) or step out of them on our own, getting out of a rut allows us to tap into potential and possibilities that weren’t there before we decided to change things up.
Stepping out of a rut represents a challenge, and challenges allow us to shine, to prove to ourselves that we can overcome obstacles and rise to the occasions that test us and our abilities to persevere, create, and be innovative. We must spend the time to recognize what’s a rut and what’s truly necessary in our lives and decide what to do when we recognize a rut. I don’t like them, and I don’t like the false sense of comfort they instill in me.
Take a chance–step out of those ruts that are keeping you down or forcing you to stay exactly the same as you are without the chance of growing, developing, becoming stronger, more loving, innovative, or creative. The rut may be comfortable, but comfort is not what human beings were made for, even though sometimes I wish it were. Our best sides shine forth when we’re challenged, not when we do the same safe things repeatedly.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of ruts are you in? Why are you in them? How might you leave them behind?
What kinds of harm might we do to ourselves if we allow ourselves to stay in our “safe” ruts?
Why might we feel all is lost when thrown out of a rut?
For further thought:
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. Only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, are we likely to step out of our ruts and search for different ways or truer answers. -Scott Peck