What If The ‘new’ You Is Not Who You Deserve To Be?

There is a fundamental mismatch that exists between our expectations of ourselves and reality, and, thus, we are all prone to the illusion of progress. We are in the business of making everything work.

The key word in “Making Everything Work” is “progress” because, as we shall now see, progress is a dangerous thing. Progress can only lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy if it’s achieved along the lines that are not true. Progress is a destructive element, but progress can be so elusive, so confusing — yet so necessary — that it’s possible we’ll be misled into the belief that it’s always a good idea. The most successful people are those who know that “it” never really happens the way they imagine it to be happening.

We all go through our own personal stages when we achieve a goal. At your worst, you think you accomplished something when in actuality you had achieved nothing. Perhaps you got lucky. You achieved what everyone else thought was impossible. Or perhaps you succeeded because it seemed as if the impossible dream was within reach, and that’s all you needed to become a successful person.   Then at your best, you think you accomplished something important when in actuality you accomplished nothing. Perhaps you achieved a great breakthrough that changed the world to make it healthier, more equitable, freer and more inclusive. Or perhaps you achieved something for the sake of achieving it. Or perhaps you achieved a “win” when really, you just managed to hold out for slightly longer than the rest of the race while the rest of the group had fallen behind.

I’ve had this happen many times, and now know, to some extent, why. You can’t know things that aren’t there, that aren’t objectively, positively and critically, proven to be true. When you do achieve something, you must accept that, to varying extents, “it” really did happen that way. No amount of denial can hide the truth.

And you must acknowledge that those moments when you feel like you’re really living, when your “I” can breathe a sigh of relief instead of a groan of “how did this happen”, are fleeting, ineffable moments during which you are so grateful that you’re alive.

The problem is that there is often no “it” that actually was achieved, and so even when you do achieve your momentary sense of fulfillment, you don’t yet truly know “this” that is the reward of the accomplishment.

Even the “it” that is the prize of achieving progress isn’t real, but rather, something that is constructed, the product of our imaginations and beliefs.

Why Do We Expect That Progress Is Always Progress?

There’s a very simple reason we tend to assume that progress is always Progress.

Because progress is a form of success.

The success and success are not actually a success, because that’s what Progress is. Progress is what you’ve achieved — a success. Success isn’t actually progress, because that’s what Progress has been to you.

The best part about knowing this is that you no longer need to put progress or progress on a pedestal. “Progress” is something you have an ability to make happen for yourself and your community based on your own work and effort, because you now see that everything you achieve has an equal right to be earned; that what you’ve already achieved is in fact, just as important, or greater than what you think you may accomplish.

There are no “great” things in life to be defined, there are no “good” things in life to be earned, because success is not something that you can achieve for others, or to your credit.

This is your success. Your success is the foundation upon which you build — the very ground upon which all of the wonderful, wonderful things are built.