The Difference Between Success and Progress

Who has a list? You know, a collection of things, accomplishments, achievements, benchmarks, or goals with a projected date of completion?

These lists guide our decisions and dictate where our effort goes. We want to check the items off, so we do what it takes in order to do so. 

But what happens when you check one off? Are you satisfied, or thirsty for more? Let's be real: we always want more. We check one thing off our list, and almost immediately our mind goes to the next. 

This pattern of thought leads us to push and push, but at the expense of contentment. No accomplishment will lead to contentment, especially if we have another one on the list looming over our heads. We will simply move on to the next task, and with that we defer our feeling of success. 

Success is usually this future thing that we are trying to move towards. We all define it some way, and it most often has to do with "getting there." We have some sort of picture in our minds of this future point called "success" and we truly believe our lives will improve once we get there.

Have you noticed the fallacy yet? If we are always moving from one thing to the next on our list, we will never get there.  If we immediately focus our attention on the next task to complete once we have finished the current task, we will always be in a state of chasing success. And do not try to convince yourself that your list has an end: we always add more.

What if each accomplishment improved our attitude instead of swiftly leaving our minds to replace the next? What if the focus was on progress rather than what we call "success?"

To us, Progress means living in the moment and using it the build on the next.

A progressive mindset looks at each situation as an opportunity to improve, with the potential to build on every future moment. When I focus on this very moment, I am able to utilize it to build on the next moment. 

Also, a progressive mindset is not defined by checking off items on a list. Instead, the progressive mindset is defined by the level of effort put in. If I do my best, then I have done the very thing necessary to move towards the better version of myself. If I have not done my best, then I use that experience to prepare to respond differently in the future in order to do my best. 

Simply put: Progress means defining my effort, not my accomplishments. No stock is placed on previous successes or failures, and really those two words are no longer needed. I start where I am today, and build on it moving forward. And I build by putting my best effort in today.

Goals lists are awesome, but they do not define the individual. Who you are is what you repeatedly do; therefore, effort defines the person.


Jonathan de Friess