How do people end up in a rut? Ruts are habits and behaviors that have built up over time and start to form routines and patterns that are hard to change. I am not saying all routines and structures are bad. Many routines can be good but if anything becomes a rut, and feels ‘dull or monotonous’, it means it should go.
One definition of a rut is its reference to the creation of tracks from a wagon wheel, going over and over the same pathway and forming a burrow. This describes an embedded behavior, a pattern that locks you into a certain direction.
Here is one main reason why we end up in a rut. Poor decision-making and motivations. Quite often we blame everything on one bad decision, but in truth there is not one single moment in our lives or one main decision that has brought us to this point in time. It is a culmination of all of our decision-making, and of all of our choices and all of the influences that surround us.
We create our circumstances.
We know deep down at the time of entering into any decision, if it feels completely right or not. And even when we know it is wrong, we often try to convince ourselves that what we are doing is the right thing. At first, we do not notice that we are starting to lock ourselves into a life that is not right for us. This feeling builds up over time and because we don’t truly know ourselves, we keep going with the lie.
When we make poor decisions, this is mainly due to external motivations. When we do things based on external motivations, they will never satisfy our spirit, or as the Chinese say, our ‘Shen’.
The Shen is considered to be the place that heaven and earth meets, and Shen is inside you and me. It is our spirit.