Email from a reader having a tough time. Ambitious, but in a rut. Here's an edited excerpt, my thoughts afterwards -
I had some thoughts as a part of trying to get myself out of a rut. The rut is from a bad combination [...] and a lack of drive and motivation. I'm not sure I can ever fully get out of it. I've been in it in some form or another for as long as I can remember. The following isn't an epiphany. Maybe the rut is something we can never escape, though some do better than others at trying. But I'll keep trying, I think. I've failed to many times in the past to be sure, but I will try. Maybe one day I'll escape it.
It goes on that way for a while - tough times, stuck in a rut, and thinking about it repeatedly. My take -
Okay, you're "ruminating" a lot. Google the term, read something about it.
There's pros and cons of ruminating. It helps you clear up whatever issues you have eventually, but makes you miserable in the process. The answer isn't to just stop ruminating, it's to get solved whatever you want solved and also cut back on ruminating at the same time.
A couple thoughts:
*Focus less on the goal and more on the process and especially enjoying the process. If you want, say, a social circle of 30 extremely high caliber people, stop thinking so much about what it'll be like once you get there, and more time thinking about doing nice things for people, reaching out to people, etc. Fantasize about the process, not the results. If you want to build a stone wall, spend less time thinking about the built wall and more time thinking about getting stones and laying them down. Then lay the stones. Think about the process, enjoy the process, do the process.
*I forget the exact term, but basically all-or-nothing thinking is extremely dangerously conducive to quitting and neurosis and bad feelings. I know, since I can be way guilty of it. One stumble and you're ready to give up, or whatever. Again, less time thinking on the goal, more on the process.
*Try to improve your self-talk. "Worthless... maybe I'll never get out of the rut..." etc, etc... is not helpful. Just use brute force willpower to cut back on doing it. When you find yourself doing it, replace it with something else. Say something like, "I'm taking action and trending upwards" - whatever. Seriously, I'm not big into new agey stuf, but re-read your email here. Look at the language. It ain't good man. Use willpower to modify it when you catch yourself doing it (it'll take a while - again, trend upwards).
*Worth remembering: Perfection doesn't exist on Earth.
Good luck. If you keep moving forwards, you keep moving forwards.