Don't expect that progress will be easy

The will to win is not important as the will to prepare to win. — Vince Lombardi

There are some people who face defeat and retreat; who become cautious and afraid, who deal with fear instead of passion, and that’s not right. — Quincy Jones

Brother, you’re not going to get to your dream by just fantasizing about it. — Nims Purja

Nowadays, society promotes the idea that it is possible to make progress easily by working strategically. This includes:

This inflates people’s expectations while masking the truth: progress is hard. It’s going to take longer than you thought and require more energy than you thought to make any measurable progress.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear calls this phenomenon the Plateau of Latent Potential and the initial period the Valley of Disappointment.

Progress is exponential, and until you cross the linear line that you expect to follow, you will always be disappointed. Only by following through with your habits and systems when they seem inconsequential will your reap the benefits of compounding growth.

The few times in my life I’ve made a real change like this, it felt awful on the surface. I wasn’t shallow-happy about it. I wasn’t smiling. I was annoyed and fighting it inside, but on the outside I did the work.

Derek Sivers

Yet the effort required to improve is precisely what makes it worthwhile. In her book Death: The Final Stage of Growth, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler Ross remarks that “the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, an sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills the with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

How many times have people told you, ‘You can’t interview these types of people’? How many times have they said, ‘No way’? Don’t let anyone tell you your dream isn’t possible. When you have a vision, you’ve got to hang in there. You’ve got to stay in the fight. It’s going to get tough. You’re going to hear no. But you’ve got to keep pushing. You’ve got to keep fighting. You’ve got to use your Hidden Reservoir. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible. — “Sugar” Ray Leonard, The Third Door