I never liked school as a kid but I did find that I loved learning about how the pyramids were built. Brick by brick, year after year, these incredible structures were constructed by hand. No fancy machinery – just grit and repetitive dedication. What fascinated me the most was that thousands of years later – these pyramids still stand stronger than ever. So what can we take from the construction of the pyramids and apply it to making progress in our own lives?
Well, for starters, it took years to build a single pyramid. In today’s world, most people set a goal for themselves and quit once they realize they can’t accomplish it overnight. We don’t have patience as a society. We want get rich quick schemes and immediate satisfaction – but it rarely plays out that way. I have come to appreciate that making progress in life is much like building a pyramid. Each brick has its place and piece by piece, progress is made if l, and only if, you stick to your craft and remain focused – even when you feel like giving up.
I look at each day like each brick being laid. If everyday you are 1% better than you were yesterday – you’ve made progress. And although that may seem like a small amount of progress to make each day, if multiply that 1% by 365 (for the number of days in a year) what do you have? A much more impressive measure of progress right?
Everyday that you “lay a brick” and make progress – you get better – even if you don’t see it. The more and more those workers carried those bricks – the faster and more efficient they became. That’s life too. The more you practice something – the easier it becomes.
Maybe early on you only make 1% progress each day and that may be frustrating but as the days go on, if you keep working towards your goal, progress will get easier and start to come faster with time. Some days will be harder than others but if you can hang on and make it through the tougher days, the easier days will come.
Then maybe one day you start progressing 2% a day or 3% a day. Then 10%. Then 20%…
But we all know that life has obstacles and set backs too. The only thing you can’t do is quit. If you quit then any progress you’ve made so far goes away. Who wants a half built pyramid? If you have already started working towards your goal, why give up now? And who knows, maybe you were only one “brick” away from reaching your goal when you thought about giving up…
What I think hurts most peoples progress is their expectations. If you set unrealistic expectations for yourself and the progress you want to make then you set yourself up for failure and frustration. When the pyramids were built they knew it wouldn’t be done overnight. I’m sure the first few pyramids being built took much longer than those built as the years went on. Progress comes in the ability to learn and adapt as you go. When you learn you get better and when you get better you make progress.
Lastly, in the moments when you truly feel defeated because you feel so far away from the end goal, turn around and realize how far you’ve come. Take count of how many bricks you have already laid. Goals aren’t accomplished overnight but progress can be made each and every day.
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