Running In Quicksand

Growing up in Canada in the 1970’s and 1980’s we had access to literally dozens of channels on cable TV.  As a result, I got to see more than my fair share of American sitcoms and re-runs of some of the old classics.  To this day I can still sit down, turn on an episode of the Flintstones, tell you the plot and for the most part recite every single line of the show.

Yeah, I watched a fair bit of TV growing up.

When I got to adulthood, thinking back on all of my childhood television viewing the one question that plagued me, “Where did all the quicksand go?”

Seriously.  I was bamboozled.  As a kid, every time I saw wet sand somewhere my fight or flight response would kick in and I’d get all wide-eyed.  By the time I was an adult though, quicksand had all but disappeared from popular culture.

Watching Gilligan’s Island you’d think that quicksand was pervasive in our society.  It hardly seemed like there wasn’t an episode where someone wasn’t getting trapped in quicksand – well, except the episodes with Wrongway Feldman in them, but every other episode seemed to have quicksand.

I’m not making this up – in the 70’s and 80’s over 3% of all movies had quicksand in them – there’s a whole webpage devoted to this topic… They have graphs… GRAPHS!!!

Anyway, quicksand was one of those dangers that I was always on the lookout for.

What made me think of that was talking to someone, let’s just say they were of my vintage, and they made the comment that right now in their business they felt like they were running in quicksand.

Immediately my heart was filled with dread and trepidation for their plight.  I knew exactly what they meant.  They were sinking and the more they struggled the quicker the quicksand took them under.  Like Smurfette or Optimus Prime in the 80’s cartoons I grew up with, they were being dragged down, unable to escape on their own.

All joking aside, this can be a really depressing situation and incredibly frustrating for everyone running their own business.  It can be unbelievably demoralising if you’re doing your business as a side hustle project.

If you’re not familiar with the situation it goes a bit like this: you are working hard, putting in tons of effort in your business, but when you stop and take a look at what you’ve achieved, you appear as though no progress has been made at all or even worse, you feel like you’ve gone backwards.

Many of us have a pretty high standard that we tend to hold ourselves to.  When we put our back into something we expect to see results and outcomes, but sometimes, particularly in an online business, there’s no instant gratification.  You’re building something longer term and the benefit comes from compound effort and results over time.  But when you observe progress at a point in time, it can look stagnant.

The secret to overcoming this situation is to just keep doing the work.  You get trapped and sucked into the quicksand when you thrash about wildly and panic.  When you don’t feel like you’re going anyway or you’re bogged down you need to relax, get a plan together, set some achievable goals and keep moving forward.

Now excuse me, I’m going to go find the episode of Knight Rider where Michael helps pull Kitt out of quicksand because that was a classic episode.

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