In Bill Murray’s classic film Groundhog Day, his character wakes up every morning to the same thing. The same song playing on his alarm, the same annoying radio djs, and the same Groundhog day routine. Enlightenment comes for his character when he realizes that every day he can change even if the day doesn’t. He learns to play the piano, finds people he can help and ultimately wins over the woman of his dreams.
Just a comedy, but an insightful message. Those things that change us in life are the most meaningful.
I spoke with an older lawyer a couple of weeks ago that complained that she hated her job, didn’t want to go to another day of it. What she really wanted to do was follow her dream of becoming a writer and a speaker. But she was stuck in the Groundhog day loop. Not actually living the same day over and over again, but practically living the same day over and over without much hope of change in site.
I think lawyers are especially prone to this type of inertia because the billable hour frame work is extremely structured and it never stops. If you had a great month, you start over at zero for the next month—at the end of the year, the whole counter starts over. How do you achieve progress and change? How do you break the loop? The simple solution isn’t an easy solution, start forming new habits and learning new skills. Anybody can break out of the Groundhog day loop, but it takes individual decision. Nobody else is going to do it for you.