“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” -Unknown
Though I write a lot about mindfulness, focusing on here and now, I think there’s something empowering about looking back and realizing how far we’ve come. I’m not just talking about our big accomplishments. I’m referring to the many tiny personal victories we often achieve without taking time to honor them.
The other day, after I arrived at my local coffee shop to work, my computer died. No battery, no power from the cord, no explanation—and no backed up files.
I have an entire unpublished book in my saved documents. Forget for a minute how foolish it was to not have saved this somewhere else. (I know!)
What mattered to me in that moment was that I did not freak out. I did not catastrophize as if it were a person I love who died, not just a computer. I didn’t need someone else to drive me to Office Max so I could have a panic attack in the passenger seat. At one point, I would have.
Once upon a time, when anything went wrong, I fell apart.
Responding calmly, for me, is a huge victory. So I decided to stop and celebrate that, to rejoice in how far I’ve come.
Life is always going to entail challenges, both expected and unforeseen. We can choose to measure our progress based on the circumstances we’ve improved—the benchmarks, the goals, the professional successes. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing the big external changes we’ve created.
But we can also celebrate our many personal successes—those times when we respond better and more wisely to a difficult situation than we would have years ago—and in doing so increase our odds of finding a solution.
My computer wasn’t completely dead. It turns out the battery and the cord both need to be replaced. There was a solution, but I was prepared to accept and deal if there wasn’t one, instead of getting down on myself.
So today I honor how far I’ve come in maintaining my composure when things go wrong. In what area of your life have you made significant progress, and have you taken time recently to celebrate it?
Photo by Jan Kromer