Rut vs Groove

Photo of Grand Canyon
Photo copyright ©2011 David J. Crone. All rights reserved.

I love being in a groove. When I’m in a groove, everything flows smoothly. I know what to expect. I feel confident.

Ruts are similar. When I’m in a rut, things flow smoothly. I know what to expect. But, I feel bored.

What’s the difference? Attitude.


3. a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising

3. a fixed routine

Based on these definitions, you might say a groove is a rut without the bad attitude. A rut is a groove we don’t want to be in.

Sometimes what starts as a groove becomes a rut. Sometimes, a rut can transform into a groove.

If the Colorado River could talk, would it say it is more in its glory at the beginning of the Grand Canyon? Or would it be happier flowing through the vast caverns of the high walls it created?

Many times, the difference is a matter of who put us there. Is this something we do the same way every time by choice? Or are we doing this over and over again only because it is expected?

That’s not always the deciding factor. Airline pilots are well known for following a preflight checklist. They go through the same list every time. Yet, I’ve never known a pilot to complain about this being a rut.

Often, the only part we can control is our attitude. Is there something you have to do on a regular basis that has you feeling like you are stuck in a rut? Sometimes all it takes to feel unstuck is to change the environment.

Even a rut can be comfortable. A friend of mine says, “I like to get into a rut and decorate it.”

We all have coping mechanisms. Mine is music. The easiest way for me to get into a groove while doing a repetitive task that has me feeling like I am stuck is to put on some music. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly that will lift my mood.

What simple steps can you take to go from rut to groove?