Keep Moving Forward
“Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
Progress is defined as forward or onward movement towards a destination. In life, you are either moving forward or moving backwards, there is very little standing still or idling in neutral.
Think of the best moments of your life – Those moments of forward motion, when you are progressing, are often met with joy and happiness. An engagement, a marriage, a new job, the birth of a child, a new car, new home, new academic endeavors, graduations, promotions… these are all moments we celebrate in life because they are milestones in forward movement and the feeling is always great!
It’s easy be paralyzed by the inertia of the day-to-day grind. We find ourselves held fast to the ground by the gravity of “just getting by” and forget to be mindful of the importance of moving forward. To that end, I’ve put together a few simple tips to help keep of the importance of progress at the top of your mind.
Never Stop Learning
During our school years we are constantly learning new things. Sadly, studies show leisure reading is at an all-time low. Recent surveys show that nearly a quarter of adults haven’t cracked a single book in paper, electronic, or audible form in the last year. When we stop learning, we start to deteriorate mentally and emotionally. This generally results in overall feelings of dissatisfaction with our lives. We lose some of our happiness when we aren’t aspiring towards something.
Make a commitment to yourself to make time to learn something new every day. Whether that means taking 30 minutes a day away from Facebook to curl up with a real book, firing up a Kindle instead of the X-Box once a week, turning your daily commute into an opportunity to enjoy a book on Audible, or even watching a documentary – make learning a priority and you’ll always be uncovering new paths in life.
Add to Your Gifts
We should always strive to add to and grow our talents and abilities. Whether your gift is playing the guitar, diving, singing, cooking, coaching, writing, or playing hockey, the important thing is to never stop working at it.
Pablo Casals was one of the greatest cellists of all time. He could play the violin, piano, and flute by the age of four, he heard his first cello at the age of eleven, performed his first solo recital in Barcelona at the age of fourteen, and was playing for Spanish royalty by the age of 16. He went on to have an incredibly distinguished career; known and renowned as the preeminent cellist in the world. At 85 years old, Casals was asked by a reporter why he still practiced five hours a day? Casals simply smiled and replied, “I think I’m getting better.”
Casals understood an important truth: When we stop learning, we stop growing – and when we stop growing, we start dying.
Whether you’re a teacher, a dentist, a janitor, police officer, husband, wife, student, judge, or sailor: Don’t settle with where you are today – don’t be content to coast or cruise – don’t be at the same level in five years that you’re at right now.
We are put on this earth to serve and to make a positive difference in society. As such, remember that even when things are good, you have so much more inside of you. You were not made to be simply good, okay, or so-so, you were meant to be great.
It is my experience that good is often the enemy of great. Settling for “good” will have you coasting through life. It will trick you into living an okay, mediocre life… Don’t let “good enough” stop you from realizing that life can be great, remarkable, and outstanding. Life could be beyond your wildest dreams or expectations.
Thank God that Martin Luther King Jr. never settled for okay. We’re all better off because Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jim Henson, and Amelia Earhart, didn’t stop at good enough. I’m grateful every day that my parents didn’t settle for mediocrity because without their drive to keep moving forward, I would never have been able to build what I’ve built.
Don’t settle for okay. Don’t sell yourself short by accepting mediocrity. Your skills have to be developed and honed. Even masters have room for improvement and growth. Every day that
you spend learning, growing and improving will prepare you for the next level. When you find your life getting a little harder, that might just mean you’re leveling up. That’s where happiness lies, in progress and growth. Keep moving forward, keep seeking out new paths, and you’ll never stop growing.