My dad used to tell me that one of the principals of his school once told him “There’s nothing wrong with a comfortable rut”. I’m of the thinking that there is a lot wrong with a comfortable rut and tried to live my life so I wouldn’t fall into a rut. My plan was to switch out the word “rut” with “groove”. “I’m in this groove and just sailing along” until … Someone was saying this last weekend that they were in this competitive ride and it was 72 laps. They thought “I’m not going to focus on the laps, I’m just going to focus on riding and it’ll be fine … I’ll do well.” Then, a voice in her head said “There’s not a lot of difference between a rut and a groove; if you want to win, you need accountability.” So, she started intentionally counting the laps and focused hard on the competition; came from behind and got 3rd place.
Drat. Groove = rut.
I find myself more and more slipping into “the groove” and forgetting important stuff - because I’m not fully conscious of everything going on around me. When I think through processes, I’m more aware, more effective and usually, more efficient. How often do we find ourselves at a destination without remembering the trip? Could be in the car, could be a routine task, could be anything. This is how I lose my wallet, leave my keys somewhere, miss an exit, forget important stuff … the list is endless.
Other applications for me are - I’ve been playing the guitar for 50 years. It comes easy - without thought … but I’m not any better than I was 10 or 20 years ago because I’ve allowed myself to stay in the groove. I’m not worse, but I’m also not better because I don’t push myself - I’m comfortable. My workout at the gym is virtually the same as it was years ago. I’m maintaining, but I’m not improving - I’m comfortable. I need to get comfortable with the uncomfortable if I want to improve. The “uncomfortable” is a scary place for me to go, but it equals improvement.
So, I think - personally - I’m going to shake it up. Intentionality. Live with more conscious thought. Be present and aware.