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Stuckness: Part Two

A while ago I wrote about stuckness (1 min read).

I have changed my mind on this slightly, so this post is my updated view.

Previously, I believed that if you experience the feeling of being stuck, you should cease all effort and be patient.

I believed that persisting wouldn't really get you anywhere.

Now, if you find yourself experiencing that feeling of stuckness, I believe you should persist.

I should be clear because the kind of persistence matters here.

Let's call it, effortless persistence.

So what does this actually look like?

Let's imagine you're stuck on a problem.

Continuing to try to solve the problem would be effortful persistence.

The question is, how can you remain close to the problem without necessarily trying to solve it?

This is the goal of effortless persistence—stay close to the problem, without trying to actively solve it.

How can you effortlessly persist?

You'll have your own ideas I'm sure. To start, here are some of mine:

  1. Get curious about different dimensions of the problem. Just start asking questions, with the simple goal of continuing to ask questions.

  2. Talk to someone about the problem, don't ask them to solve it, just describe it to them.

  3. If the problem isn't a visual problem, make it a visual problem by literally drawing it on a piece of paper.

I hope you get the idea.

By staying close to the problem and playing with it without trying to solve it, you let the different parts of it continue to steep in your mind.

Essentially, you are continuing to feed your mind with the problem, so that your subconscious can work on it later.

You can't know for sure when the solution will come and in my experience, it will likely come all at once.

When I last wrote about stuckness, I ended with this:

Perhaps if stuckness were a literal sign, what it might say is: Cease all effort and be patient, something beautiful is about to reveal itself to you.

I'll end this post with an edit:

Perhaps if stuckness were a literal sign, what it might say is: Begin effortlessly persisting, something beautiful is about to reveal itself to you.

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