When we think back on our achievements, we often focus on the breakthroughs; the time when we ran our fastest race, or got the greatest score on our test, or got a promotion. They feel great because they’re a distinct landmark in our life, and we can measure them relative to other landmarks.
We don’t tend to think about the consistent incremental steps that got us to that breakthrough. Like spending an hour or two at the gym every day, or running in the mornings, or our sessions practising languages whilst we ride the bus.
When it’s been a while since we had a breakthrough, we can feel like we’re not progressing. We might even say that we’re in a rut.
The problem is the timescale. With a breakthrough, we can see the clearly see the difference before and after because the change was so sudden. But when we’re just gently improving over a long time, the gradient can be so small that it feels like we haven’t moved at all.
Increase the time scale. Cast your mind back to where you were a year ago. Have you improved?
How about a year from now? If things keep going as they are, where will you be?
How about ten years from now?
It’s easy to give up just because we’re stuck in the moment. Changes are happening, we’re just not aware enough to see it.