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The rut and my recent visit to it

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I have been reading Donald Trump again. People ask me how I can stand it – or him. But I tell you, I find the man to be really instructional. I find his bluntness to be refreshing. I find his laser focus to be calming. And I find his hubris to have a dampening effect on my fears and apprehensions. It is comforting to know that someone is in charge.

I often read Donald Trump when I am stuck. And recently, I realized that I have been stuck for a while. All the signs were there. The static balance in my bank balance a direct reflection of inactivity with clients. The quibbling with myself about whether or not to get up or lay around for a few more minutes to “meditate”. A pile of little notes and scribbles on my work table that only seem to grow and of course the peculiar and pervasive fatigue that characterizes a rut. But after realizing I was stuck, I was still unable to name the problem. My usual strategies were not working. I circled my rut until I remembered a story I had read once and attributed to Donald Trump. It concerns a trip he took to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It goes like this.

On a trip to NASA, Trump was being shown around by a group of engineers and technicians. Each stopped at some point in the tour to explain his or her contribution to the project. As the group was exiting, a man crossed their path with a bucket and mop. Totally in character, Trump asked the man what he was doing at NASA. Without hesitation, the man’s reply was the same as that of any of the engineers – he was helping send a man into space. Trump was impressed with the man’s reply and so am I. This man – not blinded by the detail of his mop and bucket - had the big picture in mind. He understood that the big picture was made up of small efforts.

I understand that this has been my stuckness. I had lost track of the big picture. I had lost track of my vision. I had gotten lost in detail and was succumbing to the exhaustion that extensive and multiple detail can exact.

The rut is easy to fall into - working alone, long periods between the beginning and end of projects. So many dead-ends. Donald Trump can look out of his Manhattan flat window and be reminded of the reward of continuing to put those details together. But what keeps the man with the mop and bucket going?

I would like to hear from you on this. What do you do to keep yourself motivated? And if you fall into a rut, what do you do to get out? Post your comments here. And thanks.

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