Feeling Stuck? Steps To Get Out Of Your Rut And How Music Helps | Adam Alter

We all get stuck. In relationships, in jobs or in creative endeavors. It’s a universal experience, yet most people feel incredibly lonely when they’re stuck. By shedding light on the latest research, bestselling author Adam Alter expertly unravels the psychological and practical steps you need to get unstuck.


Adam Alter PhD is a professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business with an affiliate appointment in the Psychology Department. Adam has spent the past two decades studying how people become stuck and how they free themselves to thrive. He is the author of bestsellers Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible but we talk with him on this episode about his latest book, Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most.


The biggest struggle for humans is trading off the now, for the future. It's doing the right thing now for my future self. ~ Adam Alter, Episode 362 Share on X


As someone who has kept decades of notes on interesting observations from his life, Adam peppers all his work with relatable personal stories. One of the trends of Adam’s observations from over the years is that music has provided a stream of interesting anecdotes. So it will come as no surprise to regular listeners of the Behavioral Grooves, that Tim thoroughly enjoyed talking about how music has influenced Adam’s life, research and writing!


It's less important to bounce your ideas off other people who are competent than it is to bounce your ideas off people who are different from you. ~ Adam Alter, Episode 362 Share on X


We hope you enjoy listening to our light hearted discussion with Adam and if you would like to support the work of Behavioral Grooves, you can become a Patreon member of the show.



(3:30) Welcome and speed round questions.

(4:31) Creativity is a result of productivity not insight.

(6:38) Where do people get stuck in their lives?

(7:42) Narrow bracketing – how to get rid of the messy middle.

(9:55) Why is it so hard to get unstuck?

(12:08) How to reframe difficulties as challenges.

(15:52) In hierarchical organizations, the personality of leaders matters.

(18:30) How to fail well.

(23:07) Are constraints liberating?

(26:34) The 3 part process of a friction audit?

(29:29) What is hardship inoculation?

(34:06) Finding the people who magically unstick your team.

(38:48) What makes a great band?

(42:46) How Universal Basic Income (UBI) can harness creative breakthroughs.

(45:28) Why music is a huge part of Adam’s book.

(48:10) How the economy actually dictates our musical choices.

(53:39) The music that Adam listens to.

(57:37) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on getting unstuck.


© 2023 Behavioral Grooves


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Episode 307, Groove Track – Mind Over Milkshakes: Why Expectations Matter A Lot

Episode 64, Danny Oppenheimer: Governance and Helicopter Parenting

AIRDATE: June 25, 2023 EPISODE 362

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Feeling Stuck? Steps To Get Out Of Your Rut And How Music Helps | Adam Alter