[…] he has been searching for patterns in what affects people’s “inner” lives the most dramatically. The answer, it turned out, is simply progress. A sense of forward motion. Regardless how small. Minor victories at work were nearly as psychologically powerful as major breakthroughs.
At this point of the reading, I remembered my dropped-by practice of the Five Minute Journal. That practice was great, but I somehow stopped doing that. (I ended up having a short reminder about habits and how to not stressfully deal with them at zenhabits.net).
The important breakthrough was, I started to see progress as a sense of motion. But how could I tell if the motion is actually forward? I like to think about time as a spiral…how does forward motion fit into such a view of time? What about backward motion, for example? I’m referring to that dreadful quote, saying “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward”.
Backward motion is to pick-up old reactions in order to respond to present circumstances. Going forward is the ability of successfully addressing what the present moment requires. Going together with time is a way of moving forward… have you ever thought about the fact that human beings can only see what stands in front of them? I believe this biological issue is strictly related with the psychology of progress.
Every time I respond to any situation in a slightly better way, every time I can feel a little better than usual about any kind of idea or event I am facing in the moment – that is progress.
Innovation is about doing something differently rather than creating something from nothing (invention) or doing the same thing better (improvement).
You don’t have to do something Bigger or Better to be happy. Just have to keep moving.
How do I relate progress to simple change? That’s a tough question. I see the improvement (doing the same thing better) as the very beginning of change and innovation (doing something differently). In fact, perceiving a standard event with different emotional engagement is a change. I would call it improvement, if it makes me feel better. But the real point is, it is not enough. Moon walkers got depressed because doing Better was far an impossible task. They just had to keep going with what was coming up next. Probably the Better I’m talking about it is not task-related. Is something that is much more life-related. Little things and big deals. Here it is where mindfulness arises as a full answer to complex issues. Gotta go to practice. Now.