How to Get Unstuck (a scientific take) | Adam Alter
Have you ever felt stuck in any part of your life? Trapped in a soul-sucking job, an unfulfilling relationship, a health, fitness or performance plateau, or a creative rut? What if there was a way to tap scientifically-validated principles to get unstuck, break free from the invisible forces holding you back and unleash your full potential? What if you could literally engineer breakthroughs? Turns out, you can.
Adam Alter joins us to discuss his new book Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most, which explores the often unavoidable experience of feeling stuck - whether it's a relationship, career, or health issue - and what we can do to turn stuckness into breakthrough. Adam shares strategies and mindset shifts to get unstuck and how simplifying and experimenting can ultimately help us make progress.
- Stuckness is an inevitable part of the human experience, especially for long-term goals that have a lull period in the middle. We become fixated on the end goal and overlook the journey.
- When stuck, people feel anxious, confused, isolated, and like their struggles are unique even though stuckness is universal. It leads to a flailing response that doesn't help.
- The first step is managing emotions by taking down the pressure and slowing down. Only then can you start to think strategically about how to move forward.
- Hitting plateaus is natural due to the plateau effect - constant methods become less effective over time. Anticipating plateaus and chunking large goals into smaller ones helps navigate through them.
- Failure is also inevitable but we have different cultural baggage around failure depending on the domain. The key is to reframe failure as learning rather than a stain on your character.
- Conducting a "friction audit" - identifying and removing obstacles - can reduce stuckness, especially if done periodically.
- Simplicity trumps complexity when stuck - focus on the 1-2 most important factors that will make the biggest difference now.
- Experimentation, exploration, and luck also play a role in breakthroughs. Being more exploratory increases serendipity.
- Surrounding yourself with different types of people, including those who challenge you, can enrich your life.
If you LOVED this episode you’ll also love my January episode on the power of success scaffolding to achieve incredible visions.
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