It’s frustrating to keep on working out, but yet see little to no progress.
But there’s actually magic in the little process and opportunity there, even when it’s not readily apparent.
But then, all of what you’re looking for becomes pretty apparent, all at once.
How? How is seeing no progress supposed to help me?
The Obstacle Is The Way
I got this concept reading Ryan Holiday’s book, with the same title, which distilled lessons from the ancient stoics.
Put simply, that which obstructs, instructs.
If you’re not seeing any progress, then that means there’s still something that you don’t know, to get to where you want to go.
I worked out for a solid year and a half, and saw results, but not to the scale that I wanted to. It turns out, I wasn’t seeing any progress because I didn’t know what to do with my exercises, and my diet. I was just going through the motions trying to put on weight, until my shoulder flared up and told me to stop.
There are weeks and months where I still have unbooked days, which tel me that there’s still something that I don’t know, or I don’t know how to do and execute, that will keep me booked solid.
There’s still so much to improve.
Pay attention to the areas where you have difficulty progressing, and pay attention to what lessons are hidden in those areas.
That which obstructs, instructs.
The Magic of Perseverance
It’s a trait that we all should have. I wish I had more of that.
And the best way to cultivate it, is to go through, and keep on going through, times where you see no progress, but you have faith that what you will do will get you the results you want.
It’s like all those hours of me standing in front of an audience. I thought, for a solid year, that I saw no changes, that I was still running workshops on day 365, the same way that I was running them on day 1.
Until, I suddenly felt different.
If I had given up, I wouldn’t have gotten to the point where I feel more comfortable standing in front of an audience, running learning sessions, and facilitating process and growth.
I realized, that the first part that perseverance teaches us, is to get comfortable in the situations that we were once uncomfortable.
Like standing in front of an audience.
Or standing in front of one prospect, trying to get a sale.
Or when a coachee you want to help, tells you that “I don’t know”, and you don’t know what to do, as well.
Getting comfortable in the uncomfortable. It’s hidden progress, and one that we take for granted, but will catapult our progress in the next stages to come.
Stick with it long enough, until you begin to feel the growth.
Then again, there are instances where no progress is a sign of a dead end, where I had to shift gears to get into a groove that would show progress.
All the while, still going for the original goal I had in mind.
Inside of me, there is a letting go. A letting go of the investment that I had in the path I was on, to exchange for progress on a different path.
It’s tricky, because seeing no progress can either be a test, or a sign.
Either way, it’s a choice only we ourselves can know, and if we are open to others who have traversed the path we were on now.
In psychology, it’s called the sunk cost fallacy – where I stick to a course of action I am on, because I’ve invested already so much. I don’t want to waste all that effort!
Yet, there are still lessons in switching, and it’s not giving up. It’s looking for alternatives.
It’s like our family business who chose to double down on a failing strategy, and despite all the signs, stuck to it because of the “investment” already made.
Not realizing that not switching just served to doom the company and its people.
Not seeing progress taught me to let go of what is unimportant, and to hold on to what is.
What is truly important? If you can answer that question, then everything else becomes easier.
Especially the choices you make, and what you let go of.
Where Does True Magic Lie?
The true magic in seeing no progress, lies in our ability to never give up, even when we don’t see the results right away.
In our ability to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
In our ability to make the right choices for us, with no regards for ego, pride, or identity.
And in casting these elements away from you, you begin to find your true center and core.
That’s the real magic.
Where are you currently seeing no progress? Let me know in the comments below!