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Maybe you’re stuck between a rocket and a hard place

Updated: Jan 15

You mean a rock and a hard place, surely? Nope. I mean a rocket.

Maybe you’re not stuck between a rock and a hard place like your brain is telling you. Maybe you’re actually stuck between a rocket and a hard place. This is actually a more scary proposition for most people - more on why this matters and what to do about it shortly.

Maybe you're stuck between a rocket and a hard place infographic

Our brains love taking shortcuts. One of these is binary thinking (also known as black and white thinking) which is where our brain reduces down all of the options available to us and presents us with just two of them in order to save computing power.

This happens all the time and it’s great for mental efficiency:

  • We ask ourselves “What do I want for lunch - A pie or a salad?” when there are 15 restaurants within a 5 minute walk, all serving numerous different meals

  • After lunch rolls around and we’re feeling a bit tired we ask ourselves “It’s Friday, am I going to finish this project today or should I just get stuck into it next week?” when we actually have another 3 hours of work in which we could work on the project for 1, 2 or 3 hours.

  • And finally, after a late night of binging Poirot on ABC iview on Friday night, a sunny Saturday morning rolls around and we ask ourselves “Should I get up and exercise or stay in bed and sleep for 30 more minutes?” when you have the alternate option of getting up and eating breakfast on the couch and relaxing for 30 minutes and then exercising later in the day (exercising in bed may even be an option too!).

As we can see, there are almost no situations in life where we genuinely only have two options, especially if we can remember to ask ourselves “what’s the third option?”. As simple as that sounds though, almost none of us remember to do with any regularity.

What does that all have to do with rockets and hard places though?

We are now in a recession, and with Jobkeeper ending for so many last month and rent reductions no longer the norm, there will be a huge squeeze on expenses for so many businesses across the country. Sales aren’t quite what they were and it costs just as much to run the business as it always did, perhaps even a little more due to added administrative costs and time spent working with Covidsafe plans and remote working arrangements.

What can we do? We feel like no one is spending and it costs too much to run the business. We don’t want to lay people off and we don’t want to run the business at a loss out of our own pockets - we feel stuck between a rock and a hard place and we hope that if we just ride it out, things will get better and go back to how they were. If we keep just doing the same thing though, things might not correct themselves, and eventually our little world that was safe and comfortable might just dry up and die.

A lot of the time, especially when things are tough, we love to tell ourselves that there is nothing we can do, or that the only options presented to us are too undesirable to pursue. If we are genuinely stuck, it’s not on us. While this might be comforting in the moment because it absolves us of responsibility, it’s not useful in the long run.

Take a look at the situation from another perspective though and you can see that historically

economic downturn and disruption creates a huge amount of opportunity for those willing to take the chance and make something of it.

While it might be scary to think about, consider that perhaps you’re not stuck between a rock and a hard place - perhaps the way out is a huge burst of energy toward a new and hopeful future - you’re actually stuck between a rocket and a hard place.

This rocket is the vehicle that would see you explore new territory and find new potential riches. It is a scary thought though, because getting on the rocket could also spell danger and disaster. Would your safe, little comfortable world be the same when you came back?

So what do we do? That’s up to you really.

One thing is for certain - Change and challenge breed opportunity, and there is almost always a way forward. Sometimes we’re just not willing to see it or pursue it though.


Thank you for taking the time to read and for investing in better thinking.

If you would like to discuss any of the concepts further you can do so by emailing or by clicking here to book a call.

If you enjoyed this article or found it worthwhile, please consider sharing it by clicking on the links below.

Until then, Onward & upward, Jake

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