Make progress not excuses. — Anonymous
There are many rules and principals that govern our lives. We have laws that keep us lawful, but it is our own principals that dictate why we follow those laws or break them. Our perceptions and beliefs are the key to how we react, what we do, and who we become.
To change our lives is to fundamentally change the very core of how we see things, how we act, and approach everything.
It’s amazing to think this way and because of this fact we are able to change ourselves from a drop of a hat. Although change takes time, we often times have revelations that place some of our principals and actions into question.
For myself, I’ll admit that not all the principals I’ve dictated I’ve actually followed through with in the past. But as I’m more focused on paying attention to these things from day to day, I realize a few things that don’t add up.
This brings me to what I want to discuss today:
I’ve always been a champion of taking breaks and that isn’t going to change. When we take breaks we allow ourselves to recuperate and refocus on the task at hand.
As people we need a break, or at the very least, variety.
What I do want to change is the idea of taking a step back. I’ve said in the past that taking a step back can be advantageous in a few key scenarios, true. But the more I’ve been pushing myself since I started vlogging, the more that I think it’s an empty phrase that I shouldn’t be encouraging.
Step Backwards Are Excuses
You will either step forward into growth or step backwards into comfort. — Abraham Maslow
What’s first important is to determine what “taking a step back” actually means to people. You could argue that taking a step back allows you to see the larger picture and allows you to refocus on what’s important. That’s honestly where my train of thought has been for a while on the surface.
But “taking a step back” can also be described as “taking a break” or “doing something else”.
For myself, I believe it was a feeling of regression. That sentiment occurred more and more the further I thought about that statement. That regression evolved into me physically putting myself backwards and sinking into comfort.
In other words, whenever I said “taking a step back” I associated that phrase the same way I’d associate with this phrase:
“You’re going too fast. Slow down.”
Sure we live in a fast paced society where everyone is in a rush. But my life to this point has literally been a crawl.
A very depressing crawl.
It doesn’t make sense to go from a crawl to a helpless slo-mo flail on the ground and call that “a step back.”
It’s easier to pause, take a break, regroup, and then make progress. It’s for this particular reason I want to step away from saying “It’s okay to take a step back.”
It’s really not okay to do that.
Plan, Make Adjustments, Experiment
Never go backward. Attempt, and do it with all your might. Determination is power. — Charles Simmons
Realizing that I’ve been using “take a step back” as an excuse, it’s important to find a way around it. To approach a saying or a belief from a different angle. Perhaps through your discovery of principals, one principal might be defined differently. It’s smart at this point to associate with that phrase rather than cling to an existing one that doesn’t serve you.
I believe going back to saying “take a step back” won’t help. By now, that saying has morphed into something that I no longer agree with. It has no purpose.
Instead it’s better for me to associate with words that revolve around planning and moving. You know, progress.
“Take steps forward.”,
“Take a break after you hustle.”
Things like that.
But not just associating with progress, but experimentation. Take this month for example. I’ve gone and reduced the amount of content that I’m putting out. For one, it’s to juggle the writing gig I have, but also a time for me to consume and build up a structure.
You can say it’s a regression in the sense I’m posting less, but I want to see where this goes. Do I have the time to really do what I want to do? This also gives me the opportunity to pause and see what other things I can build on. A reoccurring theme in my vlogs where I talk constantly on “I want to get more done.”
I can tell that I’m pushing myself to write better. To have these personal pieces, but also to take time to research and be a consumer. I believe right now it’s something I need to do.
If I’m wrong, then I learn something. But it’s at least a step forward in the sense you are learning something new as opposed to “taking a step back”.
You Truly Learn About Yourself
Making progress and pushing yourself allows you to learn more about yourself. The first week of vlogging was a lot for me. It was spur of the moment to start daily vlogging. But as the week went by, I noticed that I was relapsing during the weekend. On days where I was very productive, my weekend didn’t amount to much.
Sure I could be taking a break. But like I said in the past, it defeats the purpose of a break if you take one for two or more hours (i.e. take a step back).
This experience for me put into perspective how much influence I have on myself with regards to that statement. How often I go into the habit of taking those really long “breaks”.
I don’t think I would’ve recognized that if it wasn’t for the fact I challenged myself to begin uploading videos daily again. It was for the first time I actually felt a vulnerable, something that doesn’t happen very often.
But I didn’t run away from it. I actually got excited.
It’s because of this it doesn’t make sense to take those emotions in small dosages. By all means don’t over-dose, but in the context of how I see “take a step back” it doesn’t make sense. What I’m suggesting in my head was take one step forward and then one step back to analyze the first step better.
My question is: why do that when you just made the first step?
Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs. — Rudyard Kipling
This was part of my reality, a belief that I held onto. It changed my paradigm by putting that logic to question. No doubt there are things in your life that are like that as well and I encourage you to think about them. Learn about your philosophy of progress and productivity. Question and challenge and experiment on them.
Don’t be afraid to progress boldly as we always learn about ourselves when we do. Ensure that you take pauses when you need it, but never to take a step back on your work.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon