Busting a Slump

Slumps. Usually they’re associated with athletics, sometimes dating, but the same principles of those slumps often come into play when it comes to difficulties at a job. Have you ever felt desperate as you repeatedly try in vain to make a sale, or perhaps you just can’t think of any good new ideas. My slumps usually occur in the form of writer’s block.

An article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal discusses the parallels between slumps in sports and slumps in other lines of work.

A few of the causes of slumps that the article discusses include; the fear of repeating past failures, overthinking the next move or play, choking or freezing, overtraining in sports or burning out on the job, forgetting your original purpose or attraction to your sport or job, and constant destructive criticism by a coach, fans or a boss.

Research has shown, both with athletes and those in other professions, that relaxing and actually not “working” quite as hard can help bust a slump. In the article, psychologists recommend visualizing your performances when you were at your best, as opposed to revisiting your past or current failures. They also suggest recalling the original purpose or attraction that drew you to your sport or job, and working with a psychologist to figure out the origins of your demons.

A writing teacher once suggested that when I have writer’s block I should come up with the most ridiculous idea I could think of. The first idea I blurt out may or may not be the one that I’m looking for, but just the act of trying to come up with something ridiculous can shock the brain, liberating it from its fear of failure.

The topic reminds me of a great Seinfeld episode where Jerry and George obsess over the script for their TV pilot. Check out a clip below.

Question: What is the worst slump you’ve ever dealt with? How did you overcome it?

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One thought on “Busting a Slump

  1. AvatarDan

    I had a slump at work that lasted over 3 years and anything I tried to overcome it was unsuccesful. So I got a new job (It took 14 months to do) in another industry doing similar work and I have never been happier! I have a new lease on my working life and actually see a future in my career.


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