Don’t Suppress the Progress

So..I sit down to write a blog post about motivation. I have some ideas on what I could write but, ironically, I’m lacking motivation – the motivation to organize all my ideas and reproduce them as comprehensible sentences. I think this motivational lack is stemming from my low motivation to stick with the goals I wrote about in my last blog post.

I am behind where I thought I’d be at this point. I was released from my orthopedic boot 2 weeks later than I thought I would, which really messed with my workout plan. My goals went hand-in-hand and because I was struggling with one goal, it affected my motivation level towards the other goal as well. I was starting to feel defeated because I was making little progress. But at least there was some progress being made, even if it wasn’t moving along as fast as I was expecting.

I’ve been writing down/tracking the progress of my goals and even though it feels like I haven’t really gotten anywhere, when I look back to where I started, I see that I actually have made progress. It seems slow, but I am actually getting somewhere.

Seeing where you started compared to where you are now can be a big motivator. Watching your progress advance can be very beneficial, but it’s not always a smooth ride.

  • “Progress looks like a dead sheep?” Grey’s Anatomy
  • “Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.” -George Orwell
  • “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle.” -MLK
  • “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” -Frederick Douglass
  • “I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.” -Marie Curie


So to sum it all up, progress can really suck.

When you Google the word “progress”, the first definition that comes up says “forward or onward movement toward a destination”. And as we learned from the quotes above, progress is definitely not always forward. But that other word in the defintion, onward, seems to fit the truth about progress.

“Forward” makes us think that only good things can happen in order for there to be progress. “Onward” acknowledges that progress isn’t just going to be filled with the good things, there will be bad things and regression that happen in the process of progress. But it also acknowledges that even when we have a setback, we are still learning and ultimately moving towards our goals. Just keep going.

Another popular quote about progress comes from Thomas Edison: “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb.” It’s an encouraging quote, but it’s not really a common mindset among people. Most of us would probably succumb to the frustration and drop kick the dud light bulbs out the window.

While it’s not necessarily realistic for us to always be happy, content, comfortable, and hopeful about our failures, Edison had the right idea. He was persistent despite his failed light bulbs. He kept going and eventually progressed onward and reached his goal.

The other lesson Edison teaches us here is to be proud and celebrate the accomplishment in the moment and not worry about the fails from the past.

It doesn’t matter the size or significance of your goal, you’ll eventually have to take a few practice rounds before you can keep moving toward your outcome goal. Some people work towards key historic inventions, and some people are working towards finding the recipe for the perfect bowl of Ramen Noodles. Both are important and necessary for the advancement of humanity, and in either situation, progress is possible.

You might take a loss today, but that loss will assist tomorrow’s win.


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