Why People Stay Stuck

Wooden doll stuck under pile of rocks

Have you ever wondered why people stay stuck? Stuck in their problems, patterns and habits, stuck in their jobs and relationships, stuck in their heads, their negative self-talk, stuck in the past, stuck in their story. Sure seems like being stuck is a terrible experience. Yet, why do so many people do it? Well, I figured it out! The reason is simple, logical and nonetheless profound. It goes like this…

Being Good at Something Feels Good

You feel confident, powerful, skilled, knowledgeable, secure, content. It boosts your self-esteem. It makes you feel in charge. You know what works, why it works and how to work it. You can make it happen – specific results, with certainty. It’s fantastic! Who wouldn’t wanna feel this way?

Being Bad at Something Feels Bad

You feel unsure, powerless, inept, stupid, insecure, discontent. It lowers your self-esteem. It makes you feel decidedly NOT in charge. You’re not sure what to do or how to do it. Your results are totally uncertain. It’s scary, confusing and downright awful at times. Who wants to feel that way?


If someone is a master at some unhealthy behavior and a complete rookie at the alternative, healthy behavior, which behavior are they likely to do? That’s a no-brainer. And I mean that quite literally – it’s all about feelings. Faced with the decision to feel good while possibly destroying one’s life, or feel bad while creating a beautiful life, most people will opt for good feels now and suffer later.

If you are “successful” at Tindering and one-night-stands but terrible at authentic human connection and vulnerability, what are you gonna do? Swipe left and keep doing what you do best.

If you have check-to-check living down to a science but are terrified to demand a raise, take a risk or invest in yourself, what are you gonna do? Live check to check for the rest of your life because you’re good at it.

If you have mastered the art of victimhood and gotten an identity, countless excuses, someone to blame and lots of sympathy but have no idea how to take responsibility for your life, what are you gonna do? Volunteer for some more abuse because it’s working for you.

It makes sense.

So How Do We Get Unstuck?

First, we gotta realize we’re stuck. Wake up. Admit that the hamster wheel we’re on is a complete waste of life. Then, get uncomfortable. Embrace bad feelings. Face fears. Ask for help. Stop doing the same crap over and over again. Try something different. Radically different. Be a rookie. Be vulnerable. This is the way out, I promise. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius once noted that, “The obstacle is the way.” The thing you’re afraid of doing? Yep, that’s the thing you have to do in order to own your life. 

The famous 1972 Stanford Marshmallow Experiment became a longitudinal study which showed that people who can delay gratification are more successful in life than people who want the good feels now. These are empirical facts. Learn how to suffer a little so you can rip your life wide open and live that shit like it wants to be lived. #FixYourPicker

Published by Adam

Mentor, coach, speaker and educator for over 12 years. I have recovered from and triumphed over many obstacles and afflictions. It brings me tremendous joy to help others overcome similar circumstances so they can live their best lives.

Share Your Thoughts...