How to Make Personal Progress

Michael Atkins
5 min readJun 1, 2021

“It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.”

How does progress happen? How do we achieve it? If we plan our work and strive harder each day, would we wake up one day and discover how much we have grown?

Are we creatures of habit?

Like most people, I consider myself one. I have built an intricate web of routines to help me cope with the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of life. The question becomes if I hold on to the illusion that I can control my own future, would the unpredictability be more manageable?

Have you noticed how familiar faces greet you in the same coffee shop every morning? People have established their routines and go to places where they feel familiar and safe. Do you watch the same shows every night?

We derive a certain kind of comfort from doing the same things each day. We want today and tomorrow to contain just enough “deja vu” to remind us of yesterday.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life in all my years of struggle, it is that becoming comfortable is the first step to ruin. If we ever want to achieve greatness, we must never become comfortable. We must break the habit of comfort that consumes us day after day.

Happiness is not about obtaining a certain equilibrium. It’s about progress.

Think about falling in love with someone. You slowly discover another human being, and you let yourself be explored by another person.

Doesn’t that make you happy?

You are allowing your relationship to evolve, or you are working towards a promotion at work. It gives you immense joy that you are becoming better, stronger, faster, and wiser.

However, it is not about results. It’s about taking the steps required to ensure said results. I care enough to tell you that achieving great success is not an easy process. Sometimes, you fail. Sometimes you are defeated. Occasionally you will notice that it doesn’t make sense anymore. It hurts, and you get scared.

“I’m not good at marketing.”

“I can’t dance.”

”I don’t like to exercise.”

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Michael Atkins

Technologist and life-long language learner. Speaks fluent Japanese and Indonesian among other languages. Inspiring the world through love of language learning