Making Progress

Making Progress. Psychology Fanatic article header image
Making Progress. Psychology Fanatic

Today I can’t be all I want to be. Tomorrow I’ll be much the same as today. Magical transformations are productions of Disney. We are charmed by these enchanting stories of change. The person suffering from addiction, recovering and becoming a CEO; the underdog makes the team; the cheater becomes committed. Sometimes abrupt reversals happen—but not typically. Usually, the powers pushing behavior remain, and the flaws continue to haunt our lives. Life saving changes require arduous and patient work. Our success comes from small steps. Basically, we make progress through consistency.

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”

~​Shirley Chisholm

We can take positive steps towards ideals, making progress with tiny steps. We are relentlessly pushed by society to achieve more, compete, to win. Accordingly, we hear the echoes of “greed is good” emanating from the walls of the White House and the chambers of congress. Perhaps, this foolhardy doctrine is behind the constant waves of anxiety spreading across modern society and pounding our individual shores, eroding the peace of being—where the vast majority of us exist.

I spent a life time trying to become. However, in the melee of it all, I missed the joys of growth. I overlooked moments of making progress by focusing on the continual moving target of where I wanted be.

What is Progression?

Progression is moving forward towards ideals. Progression may occur spontaneously, beneath the radars of consciousness. However, without mindful attention, we often stagnate, reliving the same disappointments. Our dreams die in our hearts; we never become the person we wish to become. We can only measure progression, in terms of personal development, when we know where we are (self-knowledge), know where we want to go (goals), and know some the first steps we need to take to get there (waypower).

Armed with these three tools (self-knowledge, goals and waypower) we can measure our journey, knowing when we are making progress and when we are stalling.

Where Do We Make Progress?

An overall process of personal development is working towards self-actualization. Once we fulfill basic needs and relationship desires personal development requires you start by “looking inward and focusing on ways to better yourself. Personal development increases your self-awareness, your self-esteem, increases your skills, and fulfills your aspirations” (Miles, 2022).

We move forward or slide backwards. Life is dynamic and standing still is not an option. Personal progression is a purposeful journey of growth. A life long commitment to honest assessing of skills and talents, setting goals, and obtaining dreams. Importantly, we fuel our progression with hope and boost it by knowledge. 

Usually, the powers pushing behavior remain, and the flaws continue to haunt our lives.”

~T. Franklin Murphy

We Measure Our Own Progress

We need to progress, not joyfully stewing in the same slop of yester year. However, we shouldn’t force our progress, conforming to what others think we should be. We can move forward towards our own goals at our own pace, slowly changing the harmful trajectories of our lives, becoming something more, making progress towards our ideal self.

Take a deep breath; be kind and compassionate; growth will come.

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

~​Barack Obama

The Joy of Progression

We must slow down. Enjoy the moment without being overwhelmed by dissatisfaction with normalcy. Greatness begins in the moment, not through obliterating others in our charge to the top. Self-improvement, the simple steps of growth, are subtle. A little more awareness, compassion and kindness as we move forward making progress.

​We gather scraps of knowledge along the path instead of blindly following the crowd. We don’t have to be sucked into the chaos. We can find our own pace, our own direction, and still succeed. Markedly, we don’t run headlong into the crowd and get trampled; but we don’t blindly march.

Over a month, a year, and a decade, the steps accumulate into yards, miles, and continents. Looking back we see the progress we made. To endure the slow and difficult journey, we must find joy in the present, finding pleasure in the small steps of making progress—the journey then becomes the reward.

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Miles, Madeline (2022). Are you reaching your full potential? A guide to personal development. Betterup. Published 2-10-2022. Accessed 5-16-2023.

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