Progress: The Leading Part and The Lagging Part

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Progress is never uniform. There is always a part that catches on well and a part that is being dragged along. When you are making progress it's very rare that it will be on all fronts. In your good mood you will see all the parts you are making great strides and when unhappy you will notice more the parts that just seem not to notice/reflect your efforts.

It's like learning to swim. First, you know in your head the right thing to do, the right form to maintain and the movements to make, but your body just seem never to get it right. Then when you finally cross that barrier and your body is beginning to get the strokes right you still struggle with your breath. You are always soon out of breath no matter what you do or how you feel you are already imitating those going tens of laps at once at the same pool. So on some days you feel happy for the progress your leading parts make. Then on some days you feel sad for the lack of progress on the lagging parts. 

I can also liken it to learning to drive. No matter the progress you are making on the expressway and how straight and well coordinated you drive on the main roads, parking and making a reverse will be your lagging part for an annoyingly long time. 

So what are we to do? Is there any way to reduce the progress gap between our leading and lagging parts?


Think of Progress in Terms of the Leading Part
The number one thing to do when on a journey of progress is to appreciate your successes. When you are thinking about how far you have come and how well you are progressing, think in terms of the leading part. Don't think too much about the lagging parts, the part that seem not to respond to your efforts. This will help keep you from being too discouraged and give up.

Do More Work On The Lagging Part
Even though you may not see the immediate results of your efforts, you must put more efforts into bettering the lagging part. Do more things targeted at improving it. Note that this is different from thinking about it (as I advised against in the previous paragraph). In this case, you are not thinking but doing. 

Finally, Know That The Lagging Part Will Catch Up Someday
Yes. The part you seem awkward at now may even turn out to be that part you will be most good at in a near future, if you don't give up on it. Think back on past similar experiences where you suddenly became extremely good at something you had been terribly bad at.

So keep on working towards whatever goal you've set yourself. Don't think about the lack of progress in some areas and don't give up on fixing those areas too. Be encouraged by every progress you make, even if not uniform. Manage well the leading part and the lagging part.


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