I’ve never been, but I hear that hitting rock bottom is hard to miss. What’s harder to recognize is the plateau of your own effort. It’s hard to recognize because it feels fine, like a warm bath. You’re doing what you have been for the past several months and things aren’t getting worse. But you’re not growing.
If your work were easy, you might recognize something is off and make a correction. But when your work is in that Goldilocks zone of feeling just right, your efforts can stall out. You become a whale enjoying a day on the beach. And if you will remember, whales do not belong on beaches.
There is nothing wrong with taking a step back and enjoying the work you’ve done and continue to do. If you’re not getting enjoyment from what you do, then what’s the point? But feeling content can be a sign of stagnation. I’m not saying contentment means the death of creativity, but it wouldn’t kill you to take a look inside and see why you’re feeling content.
Hopefully, any self exploration will bring you the answer. If you find the words “good enough,” you might be in trouble. If you find the words “extremely happy with where I’m at,” please share your secrets with the rest of the world.
The recognition of this plateau of laziness should be enough to snap you out of your lull. It’ll feel like your eyes have been closed and you’re suddenly awake. Use the energy that comes with this discovery to push you into great work. Be prepared to recognize when you become contented again, and be ready to break into that cycle sooner. Perhaps, with time and effort, you can practically eliminate the plateau. An expert sailor, navigating around the stagnant air pockets in your brain!
The next magic trick is to marry satisfaction with continued progress. I’ll let you know if I figure that one out.