335 – The Middle Demotivation Trap

Poverty and affluenza are two extreme demotivators, but the most common is in the middle: averageness. Medium-sized success can be the biggest obstacle to success. Stay on your guard so that success never gets in the way of your success.

Routines sneak up on us. Ruts attract rivers and rats. Graduate, then find yourself driving on the road during the same two 30 minute rat races as everyone else, morning and night. Once rat-race fever sets in, many buy their dreams on borrowed money, locking themselves in even more. They didn’t plan to get there because “not planning” is exactly what got them there. They don’t lead their own lives, so their families don’t respect them either.

By the time they see it, it’s seems impossible to get out. The only way out of a rat race requires sacrifice. Once you recognize that “average normalness” has its noose around your neck, the next step is to recognize what holds you there. Getting out may not be as difficult as it seems.

Consider the monkey trap in which the monkey won’t let go of the peanut, even to save his own life. The monkey can never get the peanut, but opening its hand will allow it to slip away.

Let go of whatever keeps you stuck in whatever rut finds you. The most common rut is impatience. If you’re willing to learn a little from personal study every day and add a few doses of delayed gratification, you’re more likely to break your cycle. But, that will involve pausing, stopping, reassessing, taking a deep breath, releasing frantic feelings, and, of course, praying.

Few people get themselves trapped in any vicious rut because they prayed for it. Prayerlessness helps get us into ruts and prayer helps get us out.

Ruts find us more easily when we over-extend ourselves until our ships are too bulky to steer. Over-spending is only one subcategory of over-extending. Over-working oneself is another, the cause behind prayerlessness and too many resources squandered on unprofitable hobbies.

Determination keeps us out of ruts. Breaking out of ruts requires enormous determination—the same amount of determination that will prevent the next rut from pulling you in.