On Being Stuck, Part 2

In “On Being Stuck, Part 1,” I wrote about how my friend Henry helped me finish by master’s thesis. Here’s another story for you.

A few months ago, I shared the story of the little 1:8 scale Wasp aircraft engine model that I built, which won an award. In my article about the contest, called “A Side Trip to Wonderhell,” I mentioned that it took me more than seven years to build that model.

This wasn’t seven years of full-time work, or even seven years of nights and weekends. It was seven years of fits and starts, with the project often sitting untouched for months at a time. Stuck.

One day, I was grazing in my local HobbyTown, when a friendly man about my age asked me what kind of project I was working on. I showed him some pictures of my little engine, probably too many. He said that I might enjoy coming to a model club meeting on the coming Thursday evening, conveniently, right here in the store. He said it was a “great group of guys.”

To that point in my life, I had figured that building models was pretty much the nerdiest, most personally isolating hobby that a human could sign up for. I had actually even begun considering whether modeling was a mentally healthy choice for me specifically, given my propensity to self-isolate.

But this chance invitation nudged me onto a social path that I didn’t even know existed. It introduced me to dozens of new friends. Real friends to talk to, learn from, and do stuff with.

Anyway, as you’ve already guessed from the title of this article, this group did exactly for my model engine what Henry had done for my master’s thesis. They got me—and have since kept me—unstuck. Just like my thesis meetings, each model club meeting vitalizes my interest in the next chunk of work I need to do. Plus, showing our work to each other has elevated both my skills and my standards.

I’m so grateful that I decided to go to that first meeting… I really had to force myself to do it. I was so nervous.

Stupid amygdala.

Here are some of the lessons that I feel this story reinforces:

  1. Talking about your work with other people can help keep you from getting stuck.
  2. Talking about your work with other people can elevate both your skills and your standards.
  3. Socializing can be both productive and enjoyable, even for an introvert.
  4. Don’t say no to an invitation if the right answer is yes.

In my next article, I’ll share a third story about getting unstuck.





2 responses to “On Being Stuck, Part 2”

  1. Jared Still Avatar
    Jared Still

    Yes, self isolation is too easy. Thanks for this.

  2. Terry Avatar

    elevating … just like the Tuesday Zoom

    thank you Cary & All

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