Why Movement Isn’t Progress

I’ve been thinking a lot about movement of late, because in some areas of my life it feels like I’m not seeing the progress I want to be making.

I look at my annual goals list, for example, and I see a whole lot of nothing happening in a few areas of my life six weeks into the year. Now, obviously, there are mitigating factors (#babytwins) that I can point to when wondering why I haven’t seen as much movement as I’d like. But there is also something else going on. And it has nothing to do with reasonable excuses and everything to do with questioning the idea of what progress really is.

If you haven’t heard the phrase “movement isn’t progress”, or an equivalent one before, it’s a good one to tattoo on your forehead. Because we all have a tendency to believe that doing something is better than doing nothing. This is extremely evident in the way we approach productivity – Be busy! Respond to useless emails quickly! Book tons of conference calls that accomplish nothing! – but it’s also evident in more macro areas of our work lives.

We fear inaction to a fault, and do all kinds of things to prevent any moments of stillness. Because we think that in those times nothing is happening. But that couldn’t be further than the truth.

Sometimes, it’s the fallow times that lead to the growth of great big trees. Tall enough to move mountains and shake lives and rain down flowers with abandon.

So today, here’s a question for you: Is there an area in your life where you need to stop moving?

An area where you need to sit still long enough to see that movement isn’t the same thing as progress?

I’d love to hear.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

3 thoughts on “Why Movement Isn’t Progress

  1. It’s like my life is a blank page and I can’t pick up the pen. With the twangs of empty nest-ish-ness, after happily losing myself in motherhood for 20 years, I long for the days of feeling “busy”. (This sounds crazy to a mother of twins and toddler, I’m sure!)
    I think this is a time to be patient and pay attention to those tiny seeds that have potential to be something but we are a society that says sitting still is a waste of time. Your blog post was so perfectly timed and a great inspiration for me today! Thank you!

  2. My relationship with my spouse. That is the one area I have learned lately it is better to stand still to get progress. I was always the one in the relationship to create movement, to do stuff to show my Love. As good as that made me feel, it was not what my spouse was wanting. Switching my focus to stand still and hear, no, to actively listen to our discussion caused our relationship to progress. On this 29th year of celebrating St. Valentines Day, I think the non-movement focus is working.