If you haven’t read it already, Adam Grant published a great article on Languishing in the New York Times.
He offers a name for a very common feeling in 2021 of “state of stagnation and emptiness.” I don’t really think this applies to everyone, but I agree that one of the best ways to manage emotions is to name them
More than the diagnosis that American society feels stagnant, I enjoyed Grant’s advice to aim for small wins.
To transcend languishing, try starting with small wins, like the tiny triumph of figuring out a whodunit or the rush of playing a seven-letter word.— Adam Grant, Languishing
One of the clearest paths to flow is a just-manageable difficulty: a challenge that stretches your skills and heightens your resolve.
That means carving out daily time to focus on a challenge that matters to you — an interesting project, a worthwhile goal, a meaningful conversation.
I often have to remind myself to seek out the “just-manageable difficulty” – smack in between boredom and anxiety.
On occasion I find myself picking overly easy challenges, which can feel boring. Research has found surfing to be a very reliable flow trigger, and I can attest that it never feels overly easy.
Not everyone has the feeling of languishing and I enjoyed the response from Austin Kleon. He bristled at the term and offered his own metaphor to describe an attitude full of potential.
There’s also a danger that when you hear a term that sort of describes what you’re feeling, or seems right, you’ll be satisficed, and say, “Good, enough,” accept the term, and move on.— Austin Kleon
I disliked the term “languishing” the minute I heard it.
I’m not languishing, I’m dormant.
Like a plant. Or a volcano.
I am waiting to be activated.
How can you break out of a funk? I suggest taking an online class, learning new topics through podcasts, or tackling a 30 day challenge.
Commit to five minutes of a challenge today and remember to check back in afterwards to figure out if it was too hard to too easy.