room on the edge

inspiration (+ a push)

Which Groove are you in?

Which Groove are you in?

People often start out in life glowing with hope and possibility.

Some people achieve some success, do well, get good jobs, tick a lot of their own boxes and everyone else says so too, so they must be ok, mustn’t they?

Image courtesy of Stephen Holland

Image courtesy of Stephen Holland

But often, at some point, either sooner or later, they decide that they are on a certain track and that their only option is to stay on it, see it through, persevere, do the ‘right’ thing (though instinctively, they know it’s not right for them).

As they go through life they carve the groove deeper and deeper, the history groove behind them and the expectation groove ahead of them. Each experience, each layer of the groove serves as ‘proof’ of their erroneous conclusion that their life is limited – why they can’t be this or that, why they’ll never ‘be’ anyone, why they ‘have to’ follow this path. They get so deep in these past=future, proof-expectation grooves they get stuck and it often takes a crisis or a dramatic event to derail them – a health scare, or a divorce or the death of someone close.

Indeed, most people seem to expect and accept life to get worse as we move through our lives – loss of freedom and adventure when we knuckle down to a ‘serious’ career, loss of income and time to ourselves when we start a family, loss of drive and ambition when we reach ‘middle’ age, loss of health and status when we reach ‘old’ age. People look back nostalgically at photos of themselves when they were younger, happier, when life seemed simpler and more straightforward.

When we stop experiencing the excitement and adventure of new directions and new challenges, we accept and expect that life will continue on at its current rate; perhaps a little duller than we’d hoped, more ordinary than we’d imagined, more predictable, like it’s all mapped out ahead.

The tragedy (yep, strong word, but I mean it) is when people seem to give up and accept that their lives can only be this way. Perceived limitations govern all their choices and decisions in life. They limit themselves. A life of compromise. Glass ceilings. Glass boxes. All that wonderful potential, possibility and hope gradually dying off. Create or disintegrate.

We often don’t realise that even ‘a lifetime’ of being overweight or ‘years of practice’ at being broke can be changed. Life can be transformed, not always overnight, but it can still be transformed and turned around.

This is not just positive thinking or wishing it was so either. Scientific research shows that our brains are highly adaptable and can forge new neurological pathways and connections almost instantly. (Read ‘How the Mind Works’ or ‘Proust and the Squid’ – they’re fascinating.) We can literally rewire our minds.

Image courtesy of Stephen Holland

Image courtesy of Stephen Holland

If we only had the courage, the confidence, the spirit, the not ‘follow the herd’, the mindset, we would all be grooving out a new experience of the present moment and new possibilities for a future worth getting really excited about.

Challenge your thinking then – What if your life just got better and better as you got older (and wiser)?

What if you made every decision you make today knowing that:

  • your life really can be what you make it
  • you can cope with whatever ups and downs life brings
  • you can get bolder and experience more freedom as you gain more experience in life
  • you can recognise your own inner strengths and have more confidence
  • you can find a way of eating and keeping healthy that really suits you, so you don’t have to try
  • you can love your work and feel rewarded and fulfilled
  • you can at last get over the ‘money thing’ and experience true abundance and financial freedom
  • you can develop more meaningful and more loving relationships with others in your life
  • you can make a significant difference and contribution in the world
  • you can change the habits of a lifetime (up to now) and literally transform the life you’re leading

Now re-read that list again and change the ‘can’s to ‘will’s.

Which groove are you in now?

Please feel free to add your own comments, stories or experiences below 🙂

To find out more about Stephen Holland’s Hidden Talents, visit his site CLICK HERE.



  1. Such a great topic and article! I find it interesting how even the best-intentioned parents close down the options and emphasise only the ‘grooves’ that they know for their children. Why not allow them to believe in and explore all the possibilities? Because, as my mother used to say: ‘I am trying to protect you, so you won’t repeat my mistakes.’ Good intentions, but ultimately quite disempowering, so I struggle not to repeat that with my children.

  2. Thanks Sanda, you are so right – as parents we almost always have the best intentions for our children, but we forget that every moment of every day we are a walking, talking example to them in so many subtle ways that we’re not even conscious of.
    It’s not just them we have to convince or empower – we have to allow ourselves to believe in and demonstrate exploring all the possibilities in our own lives. Which like you say, can be a struggle when you have to throw off the conditioning of your parents’ generation too.
    Personally, I find working on my own empowerment and grooves easier when I keep my children in mind – like you, I’d like not to repeat the closed down version of things. Imagining myself as a moment by moment role model subtly but profoundly changes the way I think and ultimately the behaviours I choose. I still get it ‘wrong’ frequently! I’m working on it though…:-)

  3. Hi Michelle, your site has really helped me with some issues I am having around work right now. Thanks for the joyful energy that is woven into your writing. x Arpi

  4. That’s so lovely to hear, Arpi – it inspires me to keep writing! And thanks for actually leaving a comment to let me know… Michelle

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts

9 of the Best Visual Tools you can use…

04/11/2016  |  No Comments

I've been spring cleaning this site, as it's evolved into Artists Adventures, but I don't want to take this site... Read more...

September in Le Marche?

September in Le Marche?

06/18/2014  |  No Comments

Creative retreat weekends in Italy - May & September 2013. PAINTING BIG... Big brushes, big colour and big canvas... Read more...

Hop on over to The Right-Brain Business Plan...

Hop on over to The Right-Brain Business Plan…

12/06/2012  |  1 Comment

Yeah, I wrote a guest post for Jennifer Lee's fabulous Right-Brain Business Plan community about how to approach your end... Read more...

The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

11/16/2012  |  No Comments

Step 1 is to disassembled all 48 chapters from the book spine Read more...