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Making progress a way of life

When we let go of our inhibitions and do our best and often end
up pushing beyond our limits, we achieve progress.

 

When we let go of our inhibitions and do our best and often end up pushing beyond our limits, we achieve progress. Nature has decided a course of evolution for the humankind. It has pre-determined that human beings will pass through hurdles to emerge stronger and better. These hurdles are different for each person. Some could experience mental obstacles, while others experience physical or emotional challenges. Each time we cross mental or physical or emotional barrier we end up mastering that which was once a barrier. Once it is mastered, it becomes effortless. All of us want to experience progress. Some even get motivated only by it. But progress is sweeter when achieved on merit. Progress achieved through short-cuts is not soul-satisfying or even truly affirming. In that context, even asking for help to achieve progress is a sign of strength and not weakness.

 

Asking for help to achieve progress is a sign of strength and
not weakness.

 

Tests, obstacles, and challenging circumstances are crucial to achieving progress. They show us the mirror and help us reflect on where we stand and how far we have progressed in this journey. Sometimes, progress is difficult to measure without these situations. Keeping an open mind and an accepting heart to receive spiritual guidance from the inner self will help us move forward. A calm and focused mind is necessary and at the very epicenter of our journey to achieve our goals and aspirations. Distractions, be they emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual, can lead us away from our path. These can compromise our ability to remain poised. Overcoming distractions requires cultivating a conscious habit of cultivating self-awareness. Being aware when we get distracted and gently steering our minds towards the right path requires some level of preparedness through inner training.

 

A calm and focused mind is necessary and at the very epicenter
of our journey to achieve our goals and aspirations.

 

We all need to face our fears and overcome them to progress. Often, we are discouraged from even attempting as we think it is too difficult. Our pre-determined judgment about facing our fear stops us from taking action. Focusing on courage instead of fear helps us overcome this. The farther we reach on the path to achieving our goals, the more instances of fears we face and sooner we instill courage in us, more prepared we will be. Sometimes, taking that first step allows us to see what lies beyond our fears. Qualities of contentment, calmness and compassion enables us cultivate self-confidence. This in turn helps us cultivate courage. Further as we progress, this courage enables us develop clarity in thought and action. We will overcome confusion and illusions that hold us back from taking right decisions.

 

Sometimes, taking that first step allows us to see what lies
beyond our fears. Qualities of contentment, calmness and
compassion enables us cultivate self-confidence. This in turn
helps us cultivate courage. Further as we progress, this courage
enables us develop clarity in thought and action.

 

Measuring one’s progress is also a matter of having a positive attitude. Today, the world has become more competitive rather than collaborative. It is common to become a part of the competition in every field of interest from a young age. While this competition teaches us to keep chasing perfection, we stop being aware of our progress. Instead of attempting to become better version of ourselves from the day before and improving our own performance, we start comparing and start chasing the elusive perfection. I surmise in making a statement, “Nothing is perfect in this world and chasing perfection is a futile exercise”. It would be rather more practical in aspiring for progressive improvement and growth will make our lives better.

 

“Nothing is perfect in this world and chasing perfection is a
futile exercise”. It would be rather more practical in aspiring
for progressive improvement and growth will make our lives
better.

 

 

There are multiple internal and external ways of finding and measuring progress in our life. External ways lead us to comparison. Internal ways help us reflect and adjust. Meditation is one such way that creates self-awareness. We can measure even subtle instances of changes through awareness. Having self-awareness helps us develop sensitivity to the smallest of progress and changes in us. Developing micro habits of cultivating self-awareness only helps an individual remain centered under all circumstances and hence observe, appreciate, and acknowledge the changes and progress made. We are after all interested in our own progress rather than doing it to get external validation. The seat of this self-awareness is the heart. A heart-based meditation certainly helps in this regard.

 

Developing micro habits of cultivating self-awareness only helps
an individual remain centered under all circumstances and hence
observe, appreciate, and acknowledge the changes and progress
made.

 

Another sure way to accelerate progress is by cultivating compassion. Initially it could mean being compassionate and kind to yourself; having an open heart and mind to receive inner guidance; looking beyond capabilities and develop a sense of child-like wonder and attempting to being better than you were yesterday. This in essence sets a cadence for progress to one’s own self. Having a sense of progress is not only inspiring and beneficial, but often also provides a purpose to our lives. Without progress, life becomes stagnant, dull, and meaningless.

 

Progress is sweeter when achieved on merit.

 

Progress could be experienced in any aspect of our lives. It could be physical when we work out and eat healthy – improving our PQ (Physical quotient). We could experience progress in our mental sphere by staying on the learning curve and cultivating knowledge – improving out IQ. We could improve our EQ – Emotional quotient by learning to be compassionate and communicating with love. Lastly, with constantly being self-aware in every moment of our existence, we enable our hearts guide us and strengthen our spiritual qualities or as it increasingly being known as CQ or Consciousness Quotient.

 

In each case, however tangible the outcome is or not, one receives a confirmation from the heart with every little progress one makes. That keeps one within Lakshman Rekha, makes the journey joyful.

 

Originally published in StayFit Magazine.

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