“When taken in the right direction, even a step that is only half a centimeter long is progress.”
Learning a new skill can be very challenging. The beginning can often bring on two completely different experiences: either you make a great amount of headway initially and slow down once you become acclimated to the new demands placed on your mind and body, or you are completely overwhelmed initially, and as you work through the new demands, progress begins to accelerate.
In either case, there are times when progress is measured in millimeters. The study, the practice, is slow going. You haven’t quite hit a wall, but it also doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere either. You’re swimming upstream; you’re crawling across a plateau. Here’s the thing about swimming upstream or crawling across plateaus: they’re not walls. Here’s the thing about learning a new skill when you hit that point: you must cross the plateau, you must make it upstream before you can hit a point where progress picks up again. And that process happens in inches. Centimeters. Millimeters. Micrometers. Nanometers.
While you crawl across your plateau, use this as a time to reflect on your journey. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the slow motion of progress that it’s easy to dismiss all the work you’ve done and all that you’ve accomplished to that point. If you can get out of your head for a bit, you’ll realize the view is actually pretty splendid.
Progress is still progress, and if you want whatever it is you’re working for, you’ll do the swimming and you’ll do the crawling. Dig your fingers in and pull yourself forward with every ounce of resolve you’ve got.
Because that’s what it takes.
Cover and Featured image by
Sigurdur Fjalar Jonsson