Progress is a process, not an event: think about how many times your life has unfolded at exactly the right time, place and pace.
If we go all the way back to the beginning of our being – in utero – we didn’t need lungs to breathe, or stomachs to digest, because our mother’s womb provided everything needed.
Once born (in the majority of good health cases), the full functionality of our lungs and other internal organs was duly activated, because it was the appropriate time for them to begin their life assuring tasks. For us to have been given too much too soon in these circumstances, would have been hugely damaging and detrimental to our ongoing healthy development.
Now let’s skip forward a handful of years, and let us get philosophical about infant school chairs. Well, who doesn’t get philosophical about infant school chairs? I know that I for one creak and groan when attending my six year-old son’s parent-teacher consultations, which require me to sit on tiny and low children’s chairs. So low in fact are these chairs, that I catch myself wondering what else I could be doing whilst I’m down so low…but I digress.
The infant school chairs are tiny and low because they best suit and serve our infant school children. Naturally, as the children grow, so too do their classroom chairs, and all is as it should be. The point is this: life asks us to make measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time, which is why the infant school chairs are so small – the children are expected to grow out of them. These chairs will no longer fit them (comfortably), once they have grown into an adult. This is also why you will never find the likes of a Bunsen burner in an infant school, because it is simply too advanced for the fledgling child’s development stage.
Bunsen burners are introduced to our children’s reality and curriculum when they have progressed sufficiently enough through life, to be entrusted with the responsibility required to operate them safely. The scope for catastrophic harm and disaster, by giving the developmentally immature access to such powerful natural forces, is simply too horrific to contemplate, so we don’t allow it. Those in positions of protective authority ensure that progressive responsibility is metered out incrementally – with supervision – to those having learnt how to manage and accept the additional responsibility.
Now let’s skip forward again to our lives today. We all have things we want, wish for, work towards, desire and aspire to – our personal mountains to climb – but what if we got those dreams before we were truly ready to integrate them into our lives? Are you now asserting that you’re ready for your heart’s desire, certain of your ability to integrate it into your life? You might well be, who am I to argue, what do I know about your personal circumstances? The question I am putting forward here, the thinking I am seeking to challenge is this: are you sure? I’m going to continue with the philosophy for a little while longer, so please bear with me.
You may feel like you’re desperate to get what you want, to conquer your mountain. You may feel the time is ripe, and there is no reason – that you can currently see – for you not to conquer your mountain, now. What I am inviting you to think more deeply about is this: how much bigger, better, stronger, faster could you be if you were in less of a hurry, and willing to accept additional lessons before you conquered your mountain? Perhaps the attainment of your goals would be richer, more satisfying, easier to achieve or generally more robust if you i.e.: acquired a new skill set, met people who became influential, or you were able to develop an enhanced mindset, due to an experience you would otherwise have missed, in your haste to chase an illusion of success? Conquering your mountain without having acquired the additional skills, people, philosophies and knowledge, is akin to having functional lungs in utero; detrimental, because the time wasn’t right.
Growth and progress is a process, the transit of which must be embraced and respected; it is not some kind of “ta-dah” event. No one ever climbs a mountain by jumping straight to the top. You climb a mountain one effort-filled step at a time. If you’re anything like me, this process is frustratingly slow, as I have my moments when I would love to short cut the process and jump to the top of my mountain, but what essential skills, knowledge, people and lessons would I miss if I did that? Would I harm my ongoing growth and development, because the successful progression of my growth was dependent upon the lessons I learnt en route to the top?
Impatience blinds us to the universal truth that life is a journey, and our mountains are merely stepping stones laying out our path before us. Once our current mountain has been conquered, our next mountain awaits expectantly. We would therefore be wise to gather as many skills, lessons, people and knowledge as possible, in readiness for the impending challenges. The better equipped you are, the more wisdom you can apply, the faster and easier your achievements. Impatience however will starve you of these vital assets. Climb your mountain one effort-filled step at a time, stuffing your personal development tool belt with as many riches as you can find along the way. The more of life you are willing to expose yourself to, the richer the experience, the better equipped your tool belt, the easier your successive mountains will be to conquer.
For those still determined to jump to the top of their mountains, impatiently disrespecting the process of growth, I ask you this: now what? In this highly hypothetical exercise, you have jumped to the top of your mountain. You have taken a short cut to apparent success. On the surface you have achieved without having endured the hard yards; okay, now what?
This is a (hypothetical) superficial victory, it’s empty of meaningful reward, and you have missed the point entirely. The real victory, the real value in getting to the top of the mountain, is what you have fought and vanquished to get there. Growth and personal development comes from those frustratingly slow, often agonising, effort-filled, desperately hard, hard yards. There is no growth to be had in manifesting an illusion of success – it’ll satisfy nothing within you, and it’ll help you sustain little of worth.
Life asks us to make measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time. We must grow, and our lives must unfold as they should. We must work towards a solid philosophy of continuous improvement, which cannot be manifested overnight, but it will help us conquer our mountains. Each effort-filled step provides us with yet another lesson and a new, valuable tool for our personal development tool belt.
I’m going to leave you with one last thought; a quote in fact from the fictional Rocky Balboa (from the movie Rocky XVIII I think, but don’t quote me, I could be wrong)…
“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. It’s about how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That is how winning is done!”
If you could benefit from some support, guidance and mentoring whilst conquering your mountains, please call me on 01536 352385, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the online Contact Form, and I will be happy to help you achieve your goals.