I recently spent a couple of days with friends in Atlanta who have a
three-month-old daughter, their first child. My visit coincided with
the Super Bowl, and I remarked that this would be Brooke’s first Super
Bowl. Her father, Nick, replied, “Every day is her first something.”
In children, we celebrate progress. We applaud them, hug them,
kiss them, congratulate them, and reward them for the tiniest advances.
This atmosphere of encouragement plays a huge role in the rapid
progress children make in the early months and years of their lives.
Just because we are adults, we shouldn’t stop celebrating progress.
Progress is a reward in itself. I am happier when I am making progress.
See if the same isn’t true for you. Observe yourself. Study the
areas that you are making progress in. Look back at times in your life
when you have made progress in an area of your life. How did you feel
about yourself, about life, and about your future?
Our capacity for improvement is unfathomable. Whether it is professionally
or personally, in the area of health and well-being, personal
finances, relationships, diet and exercise, or character and spirituality,
we have an extraordinary ability to improve. But to improve, we need
to know ourselves very well. We need to be able to look beyond our
obvious strengths and weaknesses and see our subtle tendencies. We
need to be able to detect when we are lying to ourselves, when we could
give more than we are giving, and when we are truly heading down the
Over the years as I have studied many different forms and expressions
of spirituality. One of the few things I have become absolutely
convinced of is that some type of daily examination is one of the fastest
ways to growth. Those who have taken spiritual development most
seriously for thousands of years have employed this simple exercise
not to measure perfection but to gauge progress. It is for this reason
and around this principle that I designed The Prayer Process.
This spiritual exercise leads to a deeply intimate conversation
with God about our talents and abilities, our hopes and dreams, our
fears and failures, our potential, and the love we have for those closest
There are dozens of different forms of this exercise, but in essence
it comes down to taking a few moments at the end of each day to ask
the question “Am I better today than I was yesterday?”
The answer to this question raises more questions: “What areas of
my life do I need to improve?” “What areas of my life do I need to give
more attention to?” “What behaviors are preventing me from making
progress toward the-best-version-of-myself?”
Who you are today is only a shadow of who you are capable of
being. It is our potential that most excites and frustrates us.
Baby steps are the secret. Small victories lead to large victories.
The injured athlete has to take baby steps. During rehabilitation,
trainers teach recovering superstars to celebrate small victories, just
as a parent teaches a child to celebrate even the smallest advance. Let’s
start to pay attention to the question “Am I making progress?”
Are you making progress? As I said earlier, if you have to think
about it, then you probably are not paying attention.
From Perfectly Yourself
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