Too many people I know, myself included at times, treat success as if it were a treadmill.
Despite all the practice, training and effort they put in to reach their goals, they fail to appreciate just how far they've already come in the process. They're constantly chasing more, striving to reach stretch goals and extending their finish lines.
Throughout the journey they re-define their measure of success, while the end goal they're aiming to achieve gets pushed further away. Not once, but regularly. As soon as they reach a particular milestone, they're off again in pursuit of the next.
This approach in and of itself isn't unhealthy. In fact, it's what drives us forward. It drives you and I forward to become better versions of ourselves, eagerly seeking self-improvement. It's what drives our species forward, exploring new horizons to better the human race.
But if left unchecked, it can be damaging, if not debilitating, to our sense of self worth. If we regularly expand our notion of 'success' each time we near it, we begin to lose faith in ever really achieving it, doubting our self efficacy.
And that's why it's essential we stop treating success (and our lives for that matter) like a treadmill run.
Success is a hike through the mountains.
The journey we take on the path towards success isn't made over level ground on a gentle incline. It's full of uneven surfaces. It goes down before it goes back up. It's met with many forks in the road where we must decide (often with little to no judgement) which way to go. There are highs and there are lows. But, most importantly, there are vistas.
Along the path there are scenic vistas where we need to stop for a moment.
To stop, and appreciate the view.
Stopping to take a breath and appreciating just how far we've come. Stopping to appreciate the obstacles that, at the time, seemed overwhelming, but were overcome. Stopping to appreciate everything that we've learnt from our experiences throughout the journey.
Only then should we set our sights on the next mountain off in the distance. Only after we take pride in all that we've accomplished so far do we push ourselves forward yet again.
Treating our journey to success like a hike helps to prepare us for the unexpected twists that are bound to arise. It allows us to set our sights on the next summit without being disheartened by all that remains ahead. It allows us to progress at a rate that we're comfortable with and not conform to some pre-determined notions that we need to be a certain length in by a certain time, else we're doomed to fail.
Next time you find yourself frustrated by not achieving your goals and dreams as fast you'd have liked, stop. Stop if only for a moment to consider your progress to date. Rather than be overwhelmed of what still remains, reframe the situation to take pride in what you've accomplished since you began.
Appreciating the solid foundation that we've already achieved for ourselves allows us to dream big again; we're already partway there.