Written by Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection
While travelling around the area of Tromso in the Arctic Circle in Norway a few weeks ago, a big road de-icing vehicle came past me. I was driving on the right-hand side of the road where I am not yet comfortable and I felt as if he was going to hit me, so I veered to the right and collided with a big pile of snow on the road-side. As I tried to get myself out of the pile, my wheels spun, and I found myself unable to go forward or backward. The more I tried to get out of the pile, the deeper I dug myself into the icy-snow. Luckily, I recognized what was happening quite soon and stopped trying, switched off the engine and was unbelievably grateful to see, in my rearview mirror, that the ice-breaking-truck driver was reversing his great vehicle towards me on the lonely road.
We both jumped out, being careful not to slip in the ice and he asked if I had a rope. Of course I didn’t have a rope! How could I have planned for this? I didn’t know what I didn’t know about driving up there in the middle of nowhere. He was a real MacGyver type and managed to mesh some straps together and tow me out with his powerful engine. It wasn’t long and we were merrily on our way, with updated models in our brains about driving on the right, trusting other drivers in Norway to move out of the middle of the road (where the ice has been well cleared by this big machine) in time to not collide with me, and a new awareness of the
dangers of the edge of the road.
What struck me is how often this happens in life:
1. You don’t know what you don’t know.
2. You constantly need to be updating the models of things that you carry in your head. If you don’t keep doing that - reviewing the information, and allowing it to form new perceptions, then you will get stuck with outdated models and "stuck" thinking patterns. A conscious choice to keep updating what you think you know, is an essential part of succeeding in this ever-changing world in which we live, and choosing to thrive despite the ongoing change.
3. Often, you get stuck, and you don’t stop soon enough to review what the situation demands, so you just keep going forwards and backwards, digging yourself deeper and deeper into the stuck-ness. Stopping, checking and choosing your response is essential. I call it ACT, STOP, CHECK. Take an action, and then stop and see what the results from that action were like. If it worked, repeat the action, if it didn’t work so well, tweak it, change it, do it differently! Constant, reflection and re-reflection is absolutely integral to self-care and absolutely vital to succeeding in the world.
4. It’s impossible to get unstuck until you have acknowledged your stuckness.
So, a thought for you...
1. Which models that you carry need updating? Think carefully and take the time to acknowledge this, or you may still be operating on outdated information/ evidence.
2. In which areas of your life are you stuck and digging yourself deeper and deeper. STOP now and check out the lie of the land. Choose a new and better response.
3. Ask for help when you need it. Help is often right at hand, and it may just be the tow to freedom and forward motion you need.
4. Getting stuck is part of the adventure of life. Expect it and don’t stress when it happens. Just don’t stay stuck, and don’t keep spinning your wheels and digging yourself deeper.
Have a wonderful week and keep believing in you, and in the power you have to produce magic in the world!