Ep217: Languishing Between Gears

29 minutes

Feel like you’re languishing right now in these uncertain times? Let’s talk about reframing that experience a bit. 

Why is that important for business? 

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world and in business right now – lots of things are changing and many people feel unsettled and unmoored, or even like they are languishing. 

A recent episode of Hidden Brain, featuring Anthony Burrow, focused on this experience:

“A lot of the identity contingencies – the way in which we think of ourselves - are interwoven into the everyday life experiences, and so the school relationships, the work relationships, close family, friends, etc, when those things end or are coming to an end, you might start to wonder: “who am I? What am I going to do today?” Languishing isn’t just a description, a sort of wallowing or a float in a pool. It is an attempt to describe a whole set of affective emotional, behavioural circumstances of simply not feeling engaged in one’s life. There’s a sort of disconnection. And so if you are in this sort of place, whereas I’ve experienced it, where you can’t fully make sense of up or down, heads or tails because you’re languishing, you can’t keep score of how to move forward and get more of what you want and less of what you don’t like. You’re sort of floating in the wind.”

Maybe being unsettled isn’t this terrible place to be. Perhaps it’s more like gears changing – in order to move up or down a gear, you have to hit the clutch to disengage. Only then can you re-engage in the new gear. Disconnection can be purposeful to help you get your gear shift into the right place, reconfigure and re-engage. 

Of course, uncertain futures can be either something to dread, or something to feel hopeful about. Like Red did in Shawshank Redemption: “I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.” He was looking at what could be added to his life. But for many of us, it’s been a long time since we felt like our uncertain futures weren’t going to be taking away.

Regardless, it can be helpful to rewrite the story of languishing as some sort of depressive state, into a purposeful disconnection so that you can reorganize things in a direction that you really want them to be. 

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