Winston Churchill once said: “Every day you may make progress.” The idea that every day can be used to make progress is appealing to me. Yesterday may not have gone well, today, at least, offers a new opportunity to take a step forward. This way of thinking makes it possible to believe, no matter how bad your situation may look, that you can always start to make things better.

 

What other productive choice could we make, anyway? Even though our situation may look dark, a new day will start and we’ll have to choose what we will do. Will we try to improve our circumstances just a little bit or won’t we? Is the bad situation inescapable? Can we do nothing else but to let it become worse or is progress imaginable? And what could progress mean? It could mean to find a way to deal more effectively with the bad situation so that it would bother us less. Or it could mean that we could find a way to start a structural improvement by which we could slowly but surely find a way to realize a better future.

 

Often we think that we cannot make progress because the circumstances are so hard or because we are confronted with insurmountable obstacles or limitations. But how can we know if the thought that progress is impossible is valid? At least sometimes it is primarily the thought that progress is impossible which limits us. Pessimism and fatalism can be the reason we remain passive. If we think that progress is impossible it is only logical that we don’t invest much effort in trying to improve our situation. And because we don’t put it much effort chances are slim that progress will happen. Our pessimism can be a  self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Question: do you think that my presumption that progress (even if it is only micro progress) is always possible, is true? Of yes, why do you think so? If no, can you mention a situation in which you think progress, by definition, will not be possible?

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