Life is Measured in Progress

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Well, I’d done it. I’d caught up to my friend, Drew.

This is really fucking silly, but it’d taken me five years to get here. In December 2011, he bought me my first PS3 as a Christmas gift. I decided at the time I’d surpass him someday in PlayStation achievements, and proceeded to waste thousands of hours and dollars trying to meet this arbitrary goal. A few nights ago, I knew I was close. One more gold trophy and I’d match him, so I broke out “Spec Ops: The Line” and went hunting for the Intel Operative trophy: find all 23 collectibles scattered across the entire map. It was easy. As I tracked down the last one, I heard the little bleep-bloop that signified my victory. I hurried over to the trophy menu and saw what I’d been working for all this time. I’d matched Drew! A rush of endorphins later, I realized something terrible. UH, WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW?

That was a month ago. Some of you may have seen my Facebook rants about feeling lost after realizing my entire life was a series of progress bars. I’ve still barely touched my PlayStations since matching Drew, and I’d also filled up my professional progress bars since I’m also all caught up on editing wedding photos. Without progress, I no longer had something in the background I could plug away at every time I felt bored. Even reading is a literal progress bar to me now, since my Kindle tells me exactly how far I am in my current book, and I’d exhausted my reading list too! Tony Robbins has often said “progress equals happiness”, but what happens when you run out of progress? You get shit like this.

Luckily, what I’ve been reading has helped. Productivity guru Jason Bell recently penned “Agile Timelord”, a guide to personal development that’s just the right level of nerdy to appeal to tech-savvy millennials. About 29% in – (see what I mean?) – Jason shows us a Life Wheel, a more dynamic way of looking at life progress instead of as a bar. Where a progress bar shows us linear progress in only one goal, his life wheel offers a more complete look at a variety of goals, ranging from Self-Image to Family to Wealth, and so on. Suddenly, I realized I -ALWAYS- had something to work on. I’m sure some of you knew this already, but for those of you who didn’t, LOOK AT THIS FUCKING WHEEL. The same way you can ALWAYS make an extra buck, you can ALWAYS move towards self-improvement! Do a few pushups. Take a nap. Call your mom. It all helps!

Linear progress is great for temporary goals. Dynamic progress is best for life goals. You know what the best part is? You don’t need to measure dynamic progress! As long as you’re making progress, you’re winning! I was bored a few nights ago, so I broke out the wheel. Hm, I’d been neglecting my love life for a bit, so I went out and put together a romantic night for me and my lady. Cheesecake, wine and flowers later, I realized I felt great! I was making progress!

Dynamic progress is not always easily measured, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to focus on specific areas as long as you’re flexible enough to not neglect any other part for too long. Remember, it’s a goddamn wheel. If it gets too oblong or misshapen, you end up like a CEO who dies alone. Remember the wheel.

In the meantime, buy Jason’s book! It’s a quick read, and if it changed my life, it can change yours. Let us know what you thought in the comments.

Editor’s note: Ben did not receive any payment for recommending these products.

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