The Challenge of Progress

It’s incredibly difficult to feel consistently drawn to the same future goal. 

When you want something really bad and go after it with everything you have, it changes you.

As you change, your goals do too.

Goals that once seemed so big, hairy, and audacious they’d eat you alive now seem tame, familiar, and small.

As you approach your goals, you will often outgrow them, or lose interest in them for want of a novel and more interesting goal.

You grow. Your goals grow. 

It took me awhile to recognize this pattern. At first I mistakenly assumed my goals would continue to expand in proportion to my own growth.

But that’s not really how it happens.

It’s more like you begin to converge more with your goals. Rather than growing in size or stature, you and your goals begin to grow in harmony.

At least, if you take the process seriously.

It’s not that your goals grow in magnitude. But that they grow in unique and interesting ways you never before imagined.

Goals are more like ivy than trees. Both start as small sprouts, then take different trajectories.

Trees ascend vertically. Ivy expands in every direction.

Curiosity and action are like photosynthesis. 

You may start out fixated on a particular point. That particular point takes apical dominance over everything else.

But something else catches your fancy, and you divert resources in a new interesting direction.

You are not a tree. You’re like ivy. 

You start by thinking you want to grow in one general direction. But as your interests, experience, relationships, and curiosity expand in that direction, it opens up new horizons for growth.

Suddenly, growth becomes non-linear. Both directionally and in magnitude

Your growth offshoots in a new direct. Your path branches. You grow into a new patch of soil where the sun shines a little brighter, where the water is more abundant, and growth explodes.

What started as incremental growth becomes exponential.

And if you’re persistent, this process repeats itself until it becomes impossible to identify the origin point of that first little sprout.

It’s a messy but beautiful process.