6 Other Ways We Fail at Progress (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 271)
“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”
— Kurt Vonnegut
Progress means to always be getting closer to the place you want to be. You may take a wrong turn, make mistakes, and base your assumptions off of misunderstandings. It is at this point that you stop to reconsider the path you are on. Sometimes, progress means not moving for a while in order to gain clarity of perspective and vision. But then you must make a move in some direction — preferably, the right one. The person who is not just moving but moving rightly is the one making true progress.
1. We try to fit our square into their circle.
Too many people lose themselves by getting lost in the crowd. We try to fit our unique shape, talent, and ability into the same boat as everyone else. To be liked, appreciated, or accepted, we attempt to be the same or to conform to certain groups. You’ve only got so much time and this earth and you don’t know when that time will be up, so it is best to cut away from the crowd and find out who you are and what you’re made to do.
2. We ask too many ‘Why’ questions.
Why is this happening to me? Why don’t I have this or that like my friend does? Why is she better than me? Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I go here? Most ‘why’ questions circle around an event in the past, an uncertainty in the present, or a fear of the future. Asking ‘why’ gives our brains a reason to do nothing in the present because we can’t control the outcomes on the other end of the question. ‘Why’ borderlines on complaining and excuse-making. We should instead ask ‘how’ questions. How can I improve? How can I be the best? How can I reach my goals? ‘How’ questions denote action, personal control, and responsibility.
3. We don’t take care of ourselves.
An unselfish person usually finds himself or herself caring for the needs of others but sometimes to the neglect of taking care of one’s self. The movement toward self-love and self-care has a point in that it is unrealistic for you to think you can effectively care for other people if you are sick, fatigued, out of balanced and otherwise, unhealthy. When was the last time you did something for your own well-being? If it’s been a while, consider doing something for your life that will help you to feel better and care for others.
4. We vie for the quick fix.
Get rich quick. Make a million dollars in six months. Lose weight quicker. Change your life in thirty-one days. Sculpt your abs in six weeks. Aiming for the quick fix or the fastest route usually brings short-term results. Anything that is meaningful and worth doing will take time. Lao Tzu was right, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Life doesn’t happen all at once. It takes time and time is process and process brings long-term results.
5. We aim to control everything.
We know deep down that we cannot control ever situation and it’s nearly impossible to ever control people, but we aim for the controls anyway. You can’t control life. You can’t control the future. You can’t control outcomes. You can’t control things that are out of your control. The sooner you learn this, the more frustration and disappointment you can let out of your life. Planning is good, but you can only plan to a certain extent. When you can’t control, learn to go with the flow.
6. We wait on luck, chance, or fate.
I hesitate to believe in luck at times. I don’t consider any measure of success to be a sheer stroke of chance instead of a result of one’s own action. If you’re waiting on your magic moment or some great opportunity to just drop into your lap, then you’re going to be waiting for a very long time. Like anything else in life, if you want any luck, you’ve got to work for it. The more you work, the more good things will come your way.
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
— Frank Zappa