I was introduced to this way of thinking pretty early on when I was probably around 16, maybe 17 years old. After being pretty heavily bullied during my final years of high school and losing all my friends because of it, my parents made the decision to sign me up for a 6th form school a couple of towns over so I could have a chance at a fresh start. Now obviously when you are a young woman that age and you have had 100% of the confidence completely knocked out of you, it becomes extremely difficult to find any motivation of any sort or to hold on to any aspirations because they seem completely unattainable and you probably don’t deserve to be happy anyway. Whatever situation you are in, this is when your grades start to decline, you lose interest in your job and you start to slack on certain aspects of your life because nothing really seems worth it and what’s the point of it all anyway. In hindsight not this is what I see as stagnation: the idea that you are not moving anywhere with your life while the rest of the world keeps turning, eventually leaving you behind in what feels like slowly increasing darkness.
After a fair few months of this and my eventual ‘rock bottom’ moment I figured I really needed to talk to someone about it, but didn’t want to go to a professional because that would mean getting my parents involved. So, I set myself a goal to make a friend within a week, and it worked! From then on my whole life has been: be open and honest with one person (succeeded), work on my grades (failed), graduate (succeeded), stop taking drugs (succeeded), stop drinking (failed), go to uni (succeeded), get a job (succeeded), graduate uni (failed), try again on the retake (failed again), work towards a management position (succeeded), open a savings account and so on and so forth. My point with this is that whether you reach your goals or not, it is still important to have something to work towards, no matter how big or small, in order to not get left behind. I would also like to add that “moving backwards” is never a bad thing either if a thing at all, I see it as strengthening your bases or exploring an option, but you are not stagnant.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be set backs, there will be disappointment and heartbreak, and that feeling of “what’s the point” will keep coming back. If you have been to that dark place you know it is never far behind and waaaay too easy to fall back into. And when those moments happen I find it best to take a step back, take some time off, quit your job that you aren’t happy in, have a good cry and when you are ready, start over with a small goal like “I’m going to take a shower today” for example.
This might not work for everyone, but it did for me. And after years of ups and downs, some pretty severe mental health relapses and a little professional help, I am now the happiest I have ever been and looking forward to the future.