Weekend Reflection: Two Steps Forward... and Two Steps Back

I'd hazard a guess that most of us operate under the impression that we are somehow going to "make progress" in our lives.

"Progress" can mean a pretty wide array of things, depending on who you ask.


Some people pursue the desire to amass vast personal wealth; some people seek the pinnacle of some skill or ability; some want to attain the greatest possible amount of influence over those around them; yet others seek perfect inner peace.

Regardless, we tend to think of the path we travel in terms of making progress. We want to move forward.

Life, however, does not tend to unfold in a straight line. Learning often happens in fits and starts, with long periods of running in place, followed by sudden quantum leaps forward.


Along the way, we are offered various nuggets of wisdom.

"It's the JOURNEY, not the DESTINATION that matters!"

"You must have PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE if you want to succeed!"

"Always do your best!"

And so, we work our way along... and in spite of our best efforts, sometimes it feels like we end up taking two steps backwards every time we have taken two steps forwards. In fact, sometimes it seems we take three steps backwards...

"It's so hard to do this! Life is not FAIR!" we declare.


Well, life isn't fair. And if someone led you to believe that life is fair, they did you a great disservice. At the same time, life is totally fair. I wrote about this seeming dichotomy yesterday...

Perhaps the hardest lesson we learn along the way is the lesson of "letting go."

Specifically, the lesson associated with letting go of a vision we had; letting go of a particular reality we really and truly believed would become our destiny... but in spite of the fact that we keep going and going, doing our very best, trying and trying, being patient, waiting years and decades even... it just isn't happening. We always end up two or three steps backwards for every two steps forwards, no matter what we do.

In a sense, it's a bit like unrequited love... at some point you just have to give up, or you'll go crazy.


Artists, creatives, athletes and others sometimes have to face this.

You have reached a point where perhaps you ARE at the utmost pinnacle of your abilities or talent... but "that" simply isn't enough to reach the particular reality you have carried in your mind's eye.

I am grateful to my late father who taught me to always do my best.

But I am also grateful to him for teaching me that sometimes your best is not enough.

It is that point at which we recognize — and hopefully embrace — that we must make the most of what we have/are, rather than continuing to strive for something that simply cannot be.

Maybe that makes me sound rather pessimistic and like a bit of a downer... after all, many of us were taught that we can be ANYthing or ANYone we want, if we set our mind to it.


I am not entirely sure whether or not such assertions are truly useful... the risk being that so often we reach a point of bitterness and anger if what we feel we truly want always eludes us.

I write these thoughts as a bit of a follow-up to yesterday's post, coming from a place of knowing people who live in that state of bitterness, quite late in life, sadly missing out on many of the good and happy things life has to offer because of their inability to let go of a desire/want/ambition that simply never will be, no matter how much they may want it.

Life is short. By all means shoot for the things you want... but be willing to let them go if they eternally elude you. Otherwise, you'll just end up as a latter-day Don Quixote, tilting at windmills...

Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of your weekend!

How about YOU? Are there any things in life you have strived for, but just couldn't get close to? Was there something that caused you to "let go" of it, or are you still trying? Do you think there comes a point of giving up? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!


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Created at 20211016 23:42 PDT



Beautiful pictures 😍, great post .

Flowers are Lovely,

There are things in my life that I have been struggling with for years. And my movement is exactly that "one or two steps forward and backward". Sometimes I get tired of fighting and fall. But I never make the decision to give up, but take a pause, gain my strength, and fight again. I can't get over it, because it's constantly poisoning my life.
It's like Sisyphus, who can't give up his seemingly futile work. It's his destiny. "A sting in the flesh", like the apostle Paul.

But the approach you speak of - to give up, to let go, to humble oneself - an be very right and helpful. A friend of mine who tried for a long time to quit smoking has accepted it, as he called it "legalized it", and now feels much more relaxed and free)

Wasnt it Dirty Harry that said "A man has got to know his limitations!"