Progress is Sometimes Invisible, But that Doesn’t Mean it isn’t Occurring
I’ve been in quarantine in the US for just over six weeks. In that time, I’ve made it a habit to walk three miles a day, taking the same route. During the first month, as I would turn the corner and head up the hill on the last stretch of my course, an orange patch of earth, a big hole in the ground really, littered by Caterpillar equipment and huge pipes, came into view. But yesterday, when I turned that familiar corner, what I saw was different.
That burnt orange hole in the ground sprouted walls as if seeds had been planted, watered, and taken root. Not complete walls, a portion of a wall on one side, but I felt oddly excited to see this change. Weeks of what appeared to me to be nothing but a big children’s sandbox with oversized Tonka trucks was, in fact, a place where work was occurring, carefully planned effort put forth to create what will be a new building.
The digging of the foundation, the part that no one will see when the project is completed, took time and effort. Its development seemed invisible, unimportant even, yet without this work, the building could not be erected.
Sometimes we can’t see the progress we are making when we start something new, but it’s there.
Just like a building newly under construction, we are constructing our lives. When we work on ourselves, spiritually, physically, or emotionally, we build and strengthen our foundation, that invisible structure that supports us so we can create and experience our lives. This is true whether we see the fruits of our efforts or not. And one day, often out of the blue, we show up in a way that is different, pleasing, confident, competent. We might even ask ourselves “How did that happen?”
I experienced something similar while learning French. I’ve spent six years to get to the level of proficiency I have now. In the beginning, it was hard, and I didn’t recognize the progress that I was making, the foundation that was being set. But at certain points, I would realize that I could understand fast spoken French more thoroughly, or that I could express myself more fluidly, or that I could read articles without having to look up every other word. It felt terrific, but if it weren’t for the hard-fought progress, the seemingly invisible work I continued to put forth, I would never have reached these levels. Consistency, determination, and perseverance are key.
Questions to Ponder
- What have you worked on to learn or improve that, in the beginning, seemed to be going nowhere, and that later surprised you as you started to master it?
- How did that feel?
- What are you working on, or would you like to work on, that you’d like to experience that feeling?
- List some steps or tasks you can begin that will set the foundation for your success, and then start!