Sunday, May 2, 2010

Progress: Keep Moving Forward

Progress is a tricky thing. It is at times difficult to be gauged individually, and the rate of progression varies not only from person to person but from situation to situation as well. Sometimes it is very difficult for us to keep moving forward, especially when everything around us seems to be falling. At times it even hurts to keep moving forward, but progress is a necessity. It guards us from two very dangerous things.

The first thing that progress guards against is regression, which makes a great deal of sense because regression is the very opposite of progress. The worst thing we can do is to fall back to where we once were. We work so hard to get from where we are to where we want to be, and to return to an inferior version of ourselves would be a demoralizing blow. Not only is it demoralizing but it is also a massive waste of time. Very rarely do we get closer to where we want to be without spending time getting there. To regress from that point not only wastes the time we already spent but also adds additional time to simply return to where we were. The statement “Sometimes in order to take two steps forward we must take one step back” is occasionally true, but a continued habit of moving backward will never take us to where we want to be.

The other thing progress guards against is stagnation, or a settlement in one place for a prolonged period of time so that neither progression nor regression occurs. Stagnation comes in a variety of shapes and forms. At times it exists because there are impediments to progress that must be dealt with. At other times it is a result of complacency. This is the scary form of stagnation. In this case, we are not where we want to be, but we are farther along than when we started. We take too much enjoyment in what we have done that we lose sight of what is still left to be done. Stagnation can be described as this: Say I am on a road trip from Illinois to Idaho. Along the way I make a stop in South Dakota. I am fascinated by the sights and stay there. Enough time passes and I miss my targeted arrival to Idaho. Sure, I am farther along than when I started, but I am not yet where I want to be and am wasting time.

I know that there are times that it is hard to move forward. Other situations in our lives can discourage us and cause setbacks on our path. We must not lose sight of the finish. Some journeys take much longer than we would like, but as long as we keep moving forward step by step we will end each day closer to the finish than when we started the day.

Sometimes in order to move forward to make the brightest future we must let go of what we have today. I know this is not easy. I am living this myself and don’t particularly like it. Since I graduated college I have not exactly had a ton go right in my life. I have had one amazing thing that has unfortunately had to occur at the wrong time of my life. To make the best future for myself and whom I believe to be part of my future, I must do things the right way. It’s not easy now. I know some might hate me for it, and that hurts, but I do it as much for them as I do it for myself. I need to keep holding on and keep moving forward so that the best of our todays will be the worst of our tomorrows.

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