No matter what happened yesterday, whether it was a monumental set-back with chaos and betrayal…or a well deserved celebration after a sought after accomplishment…we must continue to make progress today. Life goes on, with or without us. And sure, we have our peaks and valleys along the way. We have our noticeable touchstones, marking the path as we go. But no matter where we are on that path…regardless of what level we’re on…it’s so important to consistently make an effort to try to make yourself better today than you were yesterday.
I admire folks that achieve somewhat of an elite status early on in life. What’s even more admirable though is when that achievement is done and complete, and they still find another way to make progress on the next day. If you think of a star athlete that was the talk of the town. They made it to the big show, even before they turned 30. They conquered amazing feats of accomplishment and progressed up a meaningful hierarchy. They achieved greatness. But now they’re 34 years old, and that is over. They are cut from the team. Their locker is taken by a 21 year old. They have to go home now.
You can see how some people in this situation would have such a hard time understanding how to make progress on the next day. Some of their efforts would seem futile in the shadow of what they’ve already achieved. ‘Why try to make progress in this smaller scale arena?’ they might be thinking. ‘It will never add up to the influence, the status, the level that I had in my past.’ Can this individual be better than the person that they were yesterday? The answer is Yes. However, they must adapt, redefine their scope, reevaluate their perspective, create new goals, understand their position…and play it accordingly.
Everyone has to do this at one point or another in their lives, even if they weren’t an all-star athlete. A child is born, a job is lost, a partner is found, a death in the family…we all can identify with the dynamic patterns of our experience in the world. Tomorrow may not feel like today. But in the face of that, we benefit from the continued effort.
Trying to make progress in your life creates wondrous meaning and purpose. It creates happiness too! But to plug in and connect to the ongoing innovation and growth of the human experience, and be a part of millions of years of history…creates something deeper than happiness. We become more tied in to our biological urges to explore, find meaning, connect, and progress. And…it’s a level playing field. We all have the opportunity to do this. Everyone wakes up tomorrow morning and gets a chance to improve, to contribute, to adapt. There are of course external circumstances that may affect your ability to do so. Don’t focus on those. Don’t use them as excuses. That’s what they want. That’s what your competitors want. That doesn’t help.
I don’t have enough money to make progress.
The government is making it hard for me to progress.
My family doesn’t help my situation in making progress.
My community puts a damper on my progress.
The schools aren’t facilitating my kids ability to make progress.
The way I was brought up doesn’t lend itself to making progress.
There’s nothing around here worthy of progress.
People don’t care if I make progress.
My boss hinders my progress.
It hurts to make progress.
My geographic location seems to block my progress.
People will judge me more harshly if I make progress.
I’ll have more responsibility if I make progress.
I already made enough progress.
These are all realistic and viable reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t try. It’s interesting though, that we as people are capable of overcoming the most adverse of circumstances. You have the amazing ability to look at all these barriers, daunting as they may be, give a smirk to them, and crush them all. Even considering the idea that ‘life is suffering’, you have the uncanny potential to thrive in the face of that. It’s progress that will lead you and those around you out of the storm.