Progress is rarely linear
Recently I’ve reached a plateau. Over the last month I’ve reached a certain level of competence as a snowboarder. Nothing amazing mind you, but I’ve reached a point where the blue runs tremble in fear at my approach. I would be hard pressed to say this isn’t a good thing, after all I am certainly enjoying my hat staying above my shoes for most of the day, but over the last few trips up to the mountain I haven’t really gotten any better.
Here’s the question. Should I start pushing myself to do harder things, or should I spend some time simply being content with the skills I’ve acquired so far?
I’ve heard it said that if you’re not getting better you’re getting worse. A lot of times it’s applied in the business world but there is truth to the saying in our personal lives as well. If we aren’t getting faster we’re getting slower, if we aren’t getting stronger we’re getting weaker.
The truth I think is less black and white and more gray. Plateaus are our greatest accomplishments and also our biggest barriers. Since we are infinitely adaptable (well ok, there are probably limits) we will plateau thousands of times throughout our life.
They key seems to be being able to live with a kind of cognative dissonance that both enjoys and appreciates the contentment of a plateau, while at the same time nurturing a sense of discontent with the status quo. To experience both feelings simultaneously.