Code Monkey
Published on

Progress Is Not Linear


The Journey

There are periods of time in my life whereby everything just aligns perfectly. I feel like I'm accomplishing all my goals effortlessly. However, just as often there are times whereby no-matter how hard I try I am going nowhere. I have come to realize that the journey is non-linear. Putting in the same amount of effort will not result in a proportional amount of progress to your goals.

The analogy I like to use here is like riding a bicycle. To get from point A to point B there are many periods of ups and downs.


When you're going downhill you have to put in little to no effort. You're levering the effort you've put in previously to put you in a higher elevation. During this period of time you can be seen as "lucky" as everything aligns perfectly. However, it is often just the fruits of your labor.


Going uphill is more complex. The problem here is you need to put in a certain amount of energy just to be able to stand still. Gravity is pulling you down and working against you. The trick here is you do not want to exercise energy to just stay still. This is not an efficient use of your energy. There are two options here:

Power Through

You can decide to divert energy to overcome this obstacle. This is beneficial since you want to minimize the constant drain of energy due to gravity. You want to overcome the hill as quickly as possible.

This works well in situations whereby you can see the top of the hill or the "end". If you don't see the top of the hill you will eventually hit the end of your energy reserves and hit burnout.

Take A Break

The alternative approach is to simply take a break and tackle the problem in chunks. Again, going slowly drains a lot of energy for a small amount of progress. If you don't put in enough energy you could potentially be going backwards without even knowing it. You need to be sure you're overcoming the force of gravity during these periods. In fact, the longer you stay in the period of going backwards starts to compound and to overcome that force requires even more energy.


It is important to recognize that progress is not linear. You may be discouraged by the lack of tangible results but recognize this could be simply an uphill period. If you are in an uphill period you should not do the same thing you always have been doing. Take a step back and recognize if you need to give this your all and reallocate resources or take a break. The danger lies when you try to solve a different problem with the same solution. When in a downhill period don't attribute it all to luck. Recognize that it is the fruits of your labor and effort for all of these years. Give yourself the recognition you deserve!