Progress is something we all desire and something worth our effort. As described here, progress is what I call the experience of wellness. There are many reasons related to the value of progress.
- Most importantly making progress give us hope and optimism because it is a small achievement.
- Generating progress is self-satisfying when we move toward a valued achievement.
- Progress benefits us because it means we have accepted and met a Challenge by demonstrating Courage that leads to increased Competency, demonstrates Commitment, improves Connections, makes a Contribution, and provides Consequences to build upon. To learn more about a way to C these 7C’s see this post.
Progress also relates to benefits Jane McGonigal describes in both Reality is Broken and her new book SuperBetter. As a gamer she explains that progress is necessary in games which are video quests for the player and she extrapolates to life for motivation. She explains that progress creates the secret sauce of hope, optimism and self-efficacy and that these feelings result from completed quests in games. A by-product of progress from well designed quests to complete in games and life is increased competence that can then be used in life to achieve and accomplish more.
As we all know from life, the size of an accomplishment is good but what is more important is the experience of any progress. Research documents that it is the frequency of progress that is more important than its size. To know we have made progress it is best to make goals measurable, Jane McGonigal calls these Quests. She also explains, for us to know if we are making progress, we must have a number attached to what we want to achieve.
Great examples she provides to differentiate good goals from bad goals are these. A good goal is to aim to put away $250 this month for a dream trip rather than just say you will save money. This way there is a number attached to what you say you will do and it will be easy to determine if the goal was achieved. A simple goal is to say you will get 8 hours of sleep each night for a week, easily measurable, rather than say you will get more sleep. A way to know you have made progress in being grateful is to set the goal of sending a thank note to a different friend for 21 days rather than just deciding you will feel more gratitude. For myself I have set the goal to submit 3 articles before the end of the semester rather than say I will work to publish more. Think, what measurable goal will you set yourself up to make progress?
The idea of seeking progress also relates to many other truisms of life. We never know what exactly the future holds so any breakthrough may be huge. In other words, each step forward or progress has the possibility of great possible consequences. Nassim Taleb explains this concept at length in his book, Black Swan, and is also how he created wealth for himself – see this post.
These ideas also relate to a previous presentation I made, Serendipitous Wellness: Can we cause it to happen?. The answer is yes, we can cause wellness to happen, and that was the focus of that presentation. I explain we can cause wellness because as we engage in efforts to create progress we increase our chances for serendipitous breakthroughs. Focusing on and making progress is a way to create luck and is how we can make luck work for us.
I look forward to hearing about the progress you make and the benefits we all enjoy from the serendipitous wellness that results.