After publishing my (very popular) article The best way to get unstuck, I began thinking about the conditions that create stuckness.
Following Charlie Munger's inversion principle, let's examine seven pitfalls that would get almost anybody stuck. By doing so, we will increase our chances of avoiding them.
1. Spend most of your time working on stuff you hate.
It's hard to feel stuck when you're hard at work, even more so when you're hard at work on something you love!
The state of "flow" is a cheat code for happiness. When you focus on the work at hand, time flies.
It's almost impossible to find "flow" doing work you hate. And it's impossible to feel completely stuck if you're happy.
2. Be immobile.
This point should have been number 1!
The best way to feel stuck is to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Freak out, but be sure to do it statically. Keep thinking about your situation, your fears, and your problems. All of that without moving or taking action.
Getting your blood flow, whether by exercising or by actively trying to solve your problems, would lead you to escape the field force of the stuck.
3. Neglect your health.
Talking about exercising and health in general, you should ignore it.
Eat poorly and deprive yourself of sleep. Refrain from exercising regularly.
Instead, spend time scrolling on your phone while watching some dumb show you will forget as soon as the episode ends.
Stuckness is a feeling. Feeling like shit will help you keep that feeling alive!
4. Stay lost! Don't try to chart your situation.
To achieve stuckness, it is extremely potent to remain unsure about the actual state of your situation.
If you spend an hour putting the different variables that make up your situation on paper, you would most likely see a few ways out.
To be stuck, you want only to have a vague sense of where you stand. That way, you can keep freaking out on a blurry picture of the situation.
5. Don't commit. Keep your options open.
The problem with committing is that it gets you going. And when you move and take action (see point 2), it's hard to feel stuck.
So, do not commit. Sit on the fence forever. Imagine that the best option will emerge if you wait it out.
Keep exploring, but never give any opportunity a chance.
More options, more stuckness!
6. Burn bridges. Who cares about former colleagues, bosses, or clients?
Isolation will considerably improve your chances of getting stuck. Once you're done with a specific human interaction, do not turn it into a relationship.
Keep telling yourself that it's hard to make friends as an adult.
7. Never EVER ask for help.
When you chat with friends, mentors, or colleagues, spend 100% of your talking time describing how the situation sucks.
Don't spend any time exploring solutions with them; no matter what you do, don't ask for help.
It would be too risky; you might leave the chat with clarity.
Bonus: 8. Seek to get unstuck by obsessing over other people's (apparent) success.
If you want to be stuck, you want confusion.
Good news! It's super easy to create.
Open your favorite social media apps and look for peers and people you admire. Scroll through the feed and look at their perfect lives!
Ignore the fact that you only see part of their stories. Use your imagination to make up for what you don't see. Think about how good they always feel and how perfect their family life is.
Now compare it with the accurate picture you have of your life. Why isn't it as perfect? Surely, you ought to do something different. But what?
Keep scrolling; I guarantee you won't find any answer and will go to bed even more stuck.
Honestly, this article was scary to write. It made me realize how easy creating the perfect stuckness storm is. As my previous article argues, the best way to get unstuck is to do something.
But if you do the opposite of what this article describes, you will avoid stuckness.