There’s a world of difference between a theoretical explanation of a concept or principle, and the experience of it.
Knowing alone is never enough.
It’s not difficult to intellectually grasp a principle, agree with it, yet never live into it.
If the performance gap between what we know and what we do is to be bridged, the concept has to be “internalised”.
Only experience can do that. Only experience can make it real. Only experience can make it “flesh”. Only experience can transfer knowledge to wisdom.
Notice I mention it “can”. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will. Experience alone isn’t enough. If it was, we’d all be living very different lives in a world that’s very different to the one we’ve shaped.
Let’s face facts – our record in learning from experience is not impressive.
Why is that? What makes us repeat the same unwanted outcomes over and over again?
The answer lies in the “holy grail” of success itself. Awareness.
Experience only becomes the life-changing teacher it can be if the experience itself is evaluated. The lesson in an experience that’s not reflected upon and consciously evaluated suffers a still birth.
Ever felt like, in any area of life where you’re seeking to improve, you get to a stage where you’re just “treading water”?
Ever felt like, after seeing an initial impact and progress, you find yourself on a perpetual plateau, where little or no progress appears to be going on, despite continued effort?
Yeah, me too.
Like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, it doesn’t matter how faster you run or harder you work, the return on investment appears to diminish.
It could be you’re on the wrong path, barking up the wrong tree, like the entrepreneur dedicating years to a business idea that just isn’t going to fly. Blinded by emotional attachment, the entrepreneur refuses to accept there isn’t a market for the idea and stubbornly continues on.
Persistence and stubbornness are poles apart and yet, paradoxically, there’s a thin line between them.
The difference that makes ALL the difference?
The awareness to “know” the difference.
Awareness. That “holy grail” of success again.
It’s been over a decade since life brought me one of its most poignant lessons. Actually, that’s not an entirely accurate statement. In hindsight, I can think of many other situations where life gave me the lesson…
…I just didn’t have the awareness to notice.
2004 had brought a significant physical transformation. I came into the year clinically obese. I left it having shed a third of my body weight.
For the first time, I started to work with a personal trainer. That was another important life lesson for me – if you’re serious about a specific result, invest in expertise to get you there. There’s an intelligent way of exercising the body to reach your objectives and there’s an unintelligent, less effective and often downright dangerous way of exercising it.
I’d spent years doing the latter.
Anyway, I digress, because as valuable as that lesson has been to me, it’s not the one I intend to share today.
2004 was all about weight loss. Today I couldn’t care less about my weight, today it’s about shape. But back then, I meticulously recorded my weight, week in week out.
In the first twelve weeks, progress was outstanding. Naturally, it then slowed down.
Half way through the year, something interesting started to be revealed in my data. Periods of a couple of weeks would go by where not only would my weight stagnate, which was concerning in itself, but there were times when, to my dismay, I’d see it increase by a few pounds.
Thankfully, such was my conviction, I carried on with my fitness schedule regardless. But I was concerned.
What transpired from there on was periods of stagnation or slight increases in weight followed, eventually, by significant drops in weight. So I might see a two, three or even four week period of nothing changing, or worse still, the seemingly illogical few pounds going on and then, suddenly, the next week’s measurements saw a significant shift towards the objective.
Oh there’s many. But the real lesson was the all-important role of awareness.
My evaluated experience brought me the awareness that life doesn’t always show up in a linear fashion like we might logically, perceive it should. Yes, it expresses itself in specific, natural laws which assert themselves precisely, yet paradoxically, life is dynamic.
There will be periods when you appear to be on a perpetual plateau. There will be times when little or no progress appears to be made. It might even seem you’re going backwards at times. But in your inevitable frustration, remember this:
The truth is rarely in the appearance of things.
As long as you intentionally and continually evaluate what you’re doing in terms of how your actions are serving your outcome and you’re executing based on your conclusions, progress IS being made…it cannot NOT be…it’s just not showing up in the result…
You can’t know the timeline involved. You don’t have that awareness. All you can do is hold the awareness that it will happen. And in that awareness, you fuel the very persistence that brings about the results you desire.
Most fail because the awareness isn’t there.
Today, the lesson of perpetual plateaus (or at least the perception of them), continues to serve me in every area of my life I intend to see improved results.
Wherever the perpetual plateau is perceived to be showing up in your life, think again. I encourage you to reflect on what I’ve shared here in the hope it serves you as well as it evidently serves me.
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here