We live life one day after another, similar to the way a clock ticks from one second to another. We’ve all heard that old chestnut about how a watched clock never tells time, right? Well, if you stare at a clock, you’ll get a snapshot of time, but you won’t get a sense of its progression. That’s a small but important distinction for this metaphor.
I worry on a daily basis, throughout the day even, that I’m not close enough to my goals. I fear that my writing isn’t good enough in terms of quality and volume. I wish I were reading more. My saving’s aren’t where I want them to be. I’m not as physically fit as I hope to be. I have close friends, but it would be nice to have more. You get the picture. One of the defining qualities of humanity, for better or worse, is our inability to be satisfied.
It’s because, at any given moment, we’re only looking at a snapshot of our lives. We’re watching the clock tick, and that’s why it doesn’t tell time.
I don’t keep a journal, but in moments of high stress, I’ve been known to jot my thoughts as a form of meditation and stress relief. One day, I was feeling down about seemingly going nowhere in life, and I happened to stumble upon one of these old stress entries. It was amazing to see how much better my life was, in every area, than it had been when I wrote the entry. I was so concerned with the ups and downs of the snapshot that I’d been missing the upward trending progression.
Even knowing this, I still stress about my goals. You probably will, too. That’s human nature. It’s not a bad thing in itself, but any time you feel especially bogged down in the tick-by-tick slog, pull back and look at just how much progress you’ve made. Don’t sweat those small concerns.
You’re probably much further along than you realize.