Definitions: Progress and Success


This post is truly an instructional guide for myself that focuses on how to stay motivated and how not to be my own opposing force.


It is seeming more and more difficult not to adopt existentialism and nihilism as philosophical ways of living. Many people experience thoughts in lines with these philosophical beliefs when experiencing some sort of set back, whether in terms of their career, personal goals, or something separate. We are constantly trying to make progress in our lives as a way to prove to ourselves that we are improving over time. Setbacks are opposites of progress and when they continue to occur they can make progress and success seem miles away.


The easiest way to make progress is to set and achieve small goals that pave the way to larger goals. This is much easier said than done, especially because more often than not all we can see are the large goals that we have for ourselves. Small goals often look like entries on a never ending to do list at best and bricks that form the wall keeping us from our large goals, at worst. But if we visualize each of these necessary steps as small goals, we often realize that we’re making more progress than we think.


It’s also important to make comparisons between our starting point and our current standing. It’s never easy to see how much you’ve improved when you are looking at your current work in isolation. Take a look back at where you began and you’ll often see a drastic change. This can help provide motivation to continue on.


Bridging the gap that seems to exist between progress and success can be especially difficult when you keep moving your finish line. Progress is success, and it’s okay to celebrate progress when it occurs. When you reach a small goal, congratulate yourself. Take a second to look at the work that you just did and to remember that you did that work. When you could have done literally anything else, you sat down and did the work that you wanted to get done.


The bottom line is this: It is necessary to be your own biggest critic, but it’s counterproductive to be your own obstacle.