“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
— Buckminster Fuller
Everyone moves; very few make progress. Progress is not achieved by happenstance or osmosis or luck. It takes intentional, willful, purposeful work on your own mind and heart and soul every single day. Most people give up because the journey to achieving the progress they want looks so far away. All progress, however, is based on a deeply innate and universal desire to be and live beyond our comfort zones. If we channel it so, every mistake and every success is progress.
1. We lie to ourselves.
Honesty with yourself is the first step to making any real progress in life. You can’t just move on and expect everything to fall into place if you’re kidding yourself with lies. Be straight up with yourself about who you are, what you’re doing, where you’re going, and how you intend to get there. If you’ve been a bit crappy or lazy, tell yourself, ‘You know, self, I’ve just been crappy and lazy the past week and I’m going to change that.’ Admitting mistakes to yourself first and resolving to change within yourself is the first step toward progress.
2. We travel in ‘pity me’ parties.
The poor me, pitiful me bandwagon travels to nowhere in particular because there is no destination for it. It goes on in circles. It’s full of whiners, complainers, moaners, and grumblers who can’t have things their way and so they look for an outlet through which they can share the pain or terrible suffering they perceive themselves to be enduring. The old saying, “misery loves company” is very true here. If you’re going to make any progress, you need to let yourself off this bandwagon at the next stop.
3. We wait for ideal timing.
Of course, there are situations in which timing is important. But most situations don’t involve waiting for a perfect time to do something or to say something. The right time is very often right now. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to do something and haven’t taken action yet, just start at this very moment.
4. We aim for perfection but miss sorely.
Perfection does not exist among any group of people in any country of the world. If you believe that everyone can improve, including yourself, and that everything can be made better than it already is, than you have proven to yourself that the idea of perfection is myth. We lose out on making progress when we fail to realize that everything can be improved, but nothing can be made perfect.
5. We let ourselves get stuck in the past.
If you live in the past, you will eventually stay there. If you focus on what happened way back when then you are living through the past in the present. The past is an object lesson, not a homestead. Making progress is about acknowledging the past with all of its flaws, pains, and mistakes, but intentionally yet calmly pull the cord on the window blinds to close that view so you can live in a better present and move forward to a brighter future.
6. We make friends with devils.
You know that one friend who is either always trying to get you to do something illegal or otherwise criminal, or who is a perpetual source of moaning, complaining, energy-sucking life-drainer. These types of people suck the life right out of you but we befriend them anyway and let them stay away in our lives for way too long. Open the door wide for these people to exit and then slam it shut behind them. You can’t make any good progress until you drop weights like these that hold you back and waste your time.
“Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”
— Seth Godin