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November 8th, 2019
The intuitive vision of progress is linear. We imagine that things will steadily progress each and every day, and each and every effort will contribute to this progress. This strategy for the future envisions an inclined plane, and each day is just a tiny fractal segment of that wedge.
it’s never the case. Not only do efforts often fail to produce the results we imagine, but even after much progress, the situation can change and suddenly it can look as though all that progress was in the exact wrong direction. With enough perseverance, however, and enough willingness to pivot, the project can seem to come all together right at the last moment.
When we think of that linear progression, we’re better off to tilt our head as we look at it. It’s not just a false idea of how progress functions, it’s actually a plateau, a Sisyphean plateau that we return to again and again, thinking falsely once more that this is how things will go.
Progress on most things is more like a stair case, always with fits and starts, and each stair is best imagined as an exponential curve.
For the longest time it seems like nothing is working. The beginning of an exponential curve is almost flat, and a linear progression looks far far more productive at this point. But then the exponential curve hits the elbow and suddenly progress looks like a vertical line.
That is until we hit the next stair in our effort for progress.