Through years of schooling, many of us develop a believe that progress happens the way it happens in school:
Show up. Do your work. Pass the test. Advance to the next level.
Of course, school doesn’t work like this for everyone. And even when it does work this way, it may be the only place where progress is linear.
This can set us up for disappointment and frustration when we enter real life, because there is almost no area in life where progress is linear.
Even other things you learned as a child did not follow a linear path. When you learned to walk, maybe you walked one day but the next day you fell more. You just don’t remember it.
Whether you’re trying to master a new sport or skill, create a new daily routine or ritual, or break a bad habit, your progress can fluctuate day to day.
Progress is more like a wave or a spiral than a straight line. We may get some momentum and then suddenly hit a speed bump and enter what feels like a period of regression, or a plateau.
It’s common in those moments to wonder what’s going wrong. And we may subtly resist where we are by focusing on where we believe we “should” be.
This doesn’t serve us.
Resistance of where you are — either by denial, fighting it, clinging to the belief shout where you should be, wondering what’s wrong, panicking, changing course, or through any other means — depletes valuable energy that could be directed toward your endeavor.
To stay on the path to progress you must build two important muscles.
Acceptance means that you acknowledge what is. It doesn’t mean that you have to like it; but you embrace that this is your current situation.
You can’t move forward if you’re fighting where you are. The first step to progress is acceptance of what is.
Accept where you are
Progress isn’t linear
Trust the winding path