Rocks in Your Pockets: Drop the Weight that Holds You Back

In the days before tractors, farmers picked rocks to make New England soil tillable. They used the stones to build nearly 260,000 miles of stone walls that still divide many fields.

Books celebrate their accomplishment. (Stone by Stone)

The fields in Maine seemed to grow rocks every winter. As a kid, it didn’t matter that stone walls are famous in New England. Picking rocks is never fun, even if it is part of history.

How to benefit from rocks:

The biggest mistake you make with rocks is carrying them around instead of making them useful.

#1. Get real with yourself.

Your path is cluttered with rocks, just like everyone else. You aren’t special. Don’t gasp when a co-worker gets the promotion you wanted.

The success of others is a heavy burden for those who feel self-important and entitled.

Rocks that weigh down…

  1. Liars and backstabbers.
  2. Office politics.
  3. Feeling under-appreciated.
  4. The success of others.

Those who believe they’re special – exempt from hindrance, difficulty, and obstruction – end up disillusioned and disengaged.

The longer you carry a rock, the heavier it gets.

Tip: Contributing to others is as close as you’ll ever get to being special.

Warning: You will never be special if you live for yourself.

More ways to benefit from rocks:

#2. Transform painful experiences into pivotal moments.

#3. Acknowledge weaknesses.

The ability to acknowledge, accept, and in some cases improve a weakness accelerates effectiveness.

#5. Commit to persistent systematic personal development.

#6. Don’t grasp for position and prominence.

#7. Skillfully seek feedback.

Picking rocks is never fun. But the better you get at picking rocks, the sooner you enjoy fruitful labor.

Rocks either accelerate or debilitate.


I listed seven ways to deal with rocks in your pockets. Most of the above suggestions are undeveloped. What suggestions do you have for dealing with the rocks we carry?

What rocks hold leaders back?

Bonus material:

8 Ways Successful People Overcome Setbacks (Success)

Social Comparison: An Unavoidable Upward or Downward Spiral (Positive Psychology)

Dealing with Disappointment (HBR)