6 Clear Ways We Fail at Progress (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 272)
“Progress. Just make progress. It’s okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again — and again. Just make sure you’re moving the line forward. Move forward. Take baby steps… Then change will come. And it will be good.”
— Lysa TerKeurst
It is easy for us to allow delusions and untruths to take root and grow in the personal gardens of our lives. When left unchecked, a garden doesn’t grow as it should. It becomes wild, weeds outrun the garden’s potential, and ultimately the garden dies. Likewise, in life, when we allow lies to go unchallenged, they control our expectations and the action or lack thereof that we take on our potential. Take your time if you must, but don’t allow discouragement and negativity to knock you off the path of progress. Every step may not be as fruitful as you would like, but when you get to your destination, you will look back and find that very good step outweighed every bad one. Some people quit because progress is slow, never once stopping to consider that slow progress is still progress.
1. We wish for good to happen.
On the surface, nothing is wrong with wishing. We wish for good outcomes at sporting events. We wish for a pay raise. We wish to attend our dream school or obtain our dream job. Wishing for good things to happen is nice, but it doesn’t make things happen. It’s kind of like daydreaming in school. You let that 45 minutes in biology class pass by looking out the window, but at the end of the week, you still have to take the test. It is much better to have dreams and do the work needed to achieve them than to have dreams and do nothing.
2. We think we are entitled to everything.
Don’t we live in an entitled society? Nearly everyone believes that they are God’s gift to the world and should never be cut off on the highway, offended by a co-worker, or have to wait in the drive-thru. Too many people believe what they have is only what is owed and what they don’t have is what they deserve. Nothing and nobody anywhere in the world owes you anything. Sure, every now and then, the perfect opportunity just falls into your lap. But for ninety-nine percent of the things you want, you’re going to have to take action to get it. It’s not coming just by your existence.
3. We watch too much TV.
Mindless TV is a waste of time. Not only does it cause us to waste time, but it zaps our energy. Watching reality shows and soap operas all day long don’t really motivate us to get up off the couch and do something positive with our lives. When you watch TV mindlessly, you’re only involving yourself in someone else’s (fake) life and putting all your potential in a box. Television shows that are beneficial to you, that educate you, inform you, or otherwise empower you can be a source of creativity and positive energy.
4. We think the world is a superbly bad place.
Cable news helps a lot with this kind of thinking. It perpetuates the idea that all people are basically bad and the world is an incredibly terrible place full of war, violence, suffering, and heartbreak. In some regards, this is a pretty accurate depiction of the world we live in. But the real world is an awesome place that has some good people and some bad people in it. You have to be discerning and not allow the bad in the world to keep you back from doing what is right. ‘There’s so much evil in the world’ is not an excuse for you to not pursue your dreams.
5. We pass the blame.
Nearly everyone can think of some person or situation that affected them in a negative way. There are always going to be people and situations that hurt us or force us to rethink, reevaluate, and in some cases, doubt our lives and reason for being. But passing the blame is no way to live your life. You may be justified in doing so, but blaming others will only hinder your personal growth and make you feel less in control of your life. You have to learn to let people and things go so that you can make progress.
6. We don’t know where to start and so we don’t start anywhere.
There will be very many times in life when you are not going to know where to start. The people who make progress simply start somewhere — anywhere — and they keep going in that direction until they receive a clear vision and it all begins to make sense. It really isn’t who we are that trips us up on the journey, it’s who we think we’re not. Sometimes, not knowing is a test to see if you’re going to have faith and just start in the direction of your dreams. Making progress doesn’t always require that you know exactly where you’re going when you start, but it does require that you take the first step and then the next one and then another one until the path becomes clear.
“There are only two options: Make progress or make excuses.”
— Tony Robbins