10 Reasons Why You Are Stuck, Lost, and Helpless (and How You Can Change That)

1. You were indoctrinated to believe that failure and scarcity are guaranteed to happen to you, if you don't follow this path: get good grades, study something that's in demand, be anyone but yourself, work hard, and get any job just for the salary, without considering whether you like it or not.

As humans, we operate to avoid pain, seek pleasure and comfort, and fit into the groups we identify with. Because of the way the modern world is structured, we are conditioned to follow a certain path to prove how useful we are to society, which causes the majority of people to panic when they see someone they know trying to forge their own path, exit the rat race, and actually take the time to stop and reflect on the value they can bring.

2. Throughout childhood, youth, and now in adulthood, you never quite fit in, and no matter how hard you tried, it felt unnatural and forced, so you believe that it's wrong even to introduce yourself because you think you need to be "worthy" (be 10x better than everyone) for people to consider even talking to you.

You know that success is 10% being good at something and finding ways to improve, 10% persistence, and 80% networking. You have tried to master the first two, but you are afraid to introduce yourself to people who could potentially open the doors to opportunities because you think that you have to be as perfect as you possibly can be or else they'd not want to help you out. This fear of insufficiency stems from insecurity and the obsession with comparing your beginning to someone else's middle. As a result, you self-sabotage and rob yourself of the chance to better your circumstances because of your overwhelming need to prove that you can be better than the people who have what you want (which causes you believe that you need to do someone else's 5-years' worth of work in a month just to get your foot in the door).

3. You wake up too late and don't get a restful sleep. You either sleep too little or too much.

You have irregular sleeping times and often feel groggy throughout the day, which makes you less capable of doing the work that you could potentially be doing. You know you should wake up early, but you are unable to because fatigue has more power over you. This causes you to be helpless and uninspired.

4. You waste time and money on entertainment. 

Entertainment never fills you. It only provides a temporary state of "happiness," which really isn't happiness at all because it is escape from reality. If you don't find your way back to reality, reality will come back to you. And reality pains you, so the cycle repeats, until you realize that you are stuck but are too afraid to do anything about it.

5. You are too busy trying to be two (or more) different types of people - what you already are, what your ideal future self would be, what society expects you to be, what your parents expect you to be, etc.

You may have an idea of what you'd want in life (aside from stability, you want to establish an emergency-proof way of living, so that you can enjoy life and afford to slow down and not be in such a hurry to fight for survival), but your current circumstances, family situation, and personal struggles cause you to put off your dream for tomorrow day after day, until you are crippled by complacency and fear, so you start to believe that you cannot change your life at all unless someone approves of your life choices. 

6. You allow the past to hold you down, ruminate over your failures, and blame yourself for not making progress. 

You ruminate over every little detail of your past, no matter how insignificant or trivial they may be today. You think more about the "should have's" rather than the "to do's," and allow the past to paralyze you and control how you live today. You operate in fight-or-flight mode and are too scared to make a small change to improve your life because you believe that your mistakes are too difficult to overcome.

7. You are either too stingy with the money you already have and possess a scarcity mindset, which stresses you out and causes you to operate in fight-or-flight mode and miss out on many opportunities that could increase your earning potential OR you spend like there's no tomorrow on things that do not help you get closer to your goals.

You may be afraid to spend money on nice clothing, so you hide in your house and don't make an effort to go out and meet professionals that work in a field you want to work in. You may be afraid to drive because you're worried that you'll get into an accident or pay more for maintenance. You believe that you won't ever make money in the future, so you scrimp and save like a mad person, and but these actions do nothing to ease your worries of having enough because savings are finite and will be depleted at some point in time. Saving alone won't help you, it will only hold you back and rob you of your sanity and energy. You need to focus more on what will increase your income like improving your skills, maximize your earning potential, and not be afraid to invest in yourself (whether it's buying a book, signing up for workshops, attending conferences, buying a nice suit, or buying software packages). It is unrealistic to expect that being a cheapskate without income will get you ahead.

On the flip side, people who feel like they lack control often spend like there's no tomorrow because they think that the future won't arrive and all they have to do is enjoy today, since today's all they have control over. This also causes them to remain stagnant and stuck in life.

8. You know what you should be doing to better yourself, but your fear of failure keeps you stuck.

You know what steps you need to take (after reading tons of self-help books and articles), but you are afraid of change because change means being uncomfortable and possibly failing in whatever you're trying to accomplish. 

9. You seek comfort more than intrinsic fulfillment. 

You allow fear to be your dictator, and this causes you to remain helpless in a situation where you can barely afford to pay bills, you are always rushing to one place to the next, you cannot even take five minutes to rest and evaluate your life, and you feel like other people's care for you is contingent on whether or not you do as they say. And remaining in this toxic environment causes you to believe that you'll always be helpless and you'll never have time to build a stable foundation for yourself because you always fear that someone's always evaluating you and has the power to cut you off. Thus, you lie to yourself and say that you are content with just living in comfort and getting by. 

10. You haven't been honest with yourself or going after what you want.

You allowed your parents to pick your major for you, which caused you to be so anxious and caught up with avoiding failure that you actually are less successful than those who know their strengths and are able to market themselves, regardless of what statistics say. You picked a job that you are barely able to handle because it isn't a good fit and you can't seem to find the time or energy to learn new skills that would help you find a better one, since you are afraid that you won't be able to pay the bills. You haven't been putting yourself out there because you think you are unworthy to show what you are capable of, since you don't believe that you are capable of anything, which stems from the feeling that others are ahead of you and you can never catch up. 

You need to be honest with yourself by identifying three key things: what you're good at, what kind of place you can excel in, and what energizes you. There's absolutely no room for fearing what other people think, fear of never being able to succeed, and fear of running out of resources for basic survival. These fears keep you stuck where you are, and you need to recognize that you need to start being honest with yourself, adapting your vision to current market demands, and sharing your story with the right people.

How You Can Change

A lot of these problems are rooted in fear. Fear causes us to stagnate and remain in less-than-favorable circumstances both through our own perceptions of reality (one common belief is that failure is guaranteed for the masses, while success is only reserved for the elite) and through the way we've been conditioned to live. And the scarcity mindset causes people to believe that they'll never succeed or ever make money in the future, so they remain in places where they cannot excel or build genuine relationships. But you need to recognize that even though the "system" feeds upon people's fears, blaming those above you will only make you even more helpless, resentful, and bitter. This will only you further away from finding opportunities, since that kind of attitude is repulsive and people will not want to help you out, if they think that you have nothing to contribute. 

If you believe that change can happen in one day, you will remain stuck because change is overwhelming, especially if you are so used to feeling helpless for much of your life and can't find time to make choices that would help you prosper. Change must happen to small increments in order for you to make progress. 

  1. Know your limits. Eliminate what you are wasting time on and understand that you cannot be impossibly perfect to everyone.

  2. Know the top three fields that you can excel in. And don't just pick any random job or scramble around in a fight-or-flight mode.

  3. Identify what you can improve on and focus on being better than yesterday.

  4. Communicate with people and tell them what you have to offer.

  5. Establish a daily routine that facilitates the attainment of your long-term goals.

Feelings of being stuck, lost, and helpless may never seem to go away. But if you have a job you enjoy, have pursuits along the side that you're passionate about, and connect with people who truly understand you, you are better equipped to handle difficult life circumstances.