Visible vs invisible progress
This week was a good week. I made a lot of progress. To be more precise, I made a lot of visible progress. One of the things I did was upload to GitHub several projects that I had been working on at the end of last year, as well as other smaller projects that I had recently completed.
This was my contributions graph around a month ago:
This is what it looked a couple of hours ago:
Much better, right? Well, I’d be tempted to say that this is thanks to the great work I did this week. The work I did made the difference. But that misses the fact that the visible progress I made this week is just a consequence of months of hard work.
This example is probably not the best, but the point I’m trying to make is that we sometimes become discouraged by the lack of visible progress. We need to understand that sometimes we’re making progress even though it doesn’t look like it.
It’s the Chinese bamboo story:
Like any plant, growth of the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. Our patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, water, etc.) will ever be rewarded.
And finally in the fifth year – behold, a miracle! We experience growth. And what growth it is! The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows 80 feet in just six weeks!
Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re always making progress. Entropy is not on your side. You still need to work hard and work smart. This “invisible growth” idea is useful when you need some solace if you’re feeling like your hard and smart work is not bearing any fruits.
Take a deep breath, get a good night’s sleep and get back to it tomorrow. Hang in there and embrace the process, you’re growing deep foundations.