The Incremental Path
What might we accomplish in our brief time here should we apply ourselves towards it? Is accomplishing itself a worthy pursuit, or is experiencing the better path to walk down? I believe in fully experiencing life, but without setting a course and working diligently towards a calling who are we but sheep waiting to be sheared?
I wrote about this of reaching for excellence recently, and perhaps write about it too frequently. But a blog is a sorting place of ideas and observations, shared experiences and insights. Since that post, I’ve added some additional habits to the daily accountability list in my pursuit of my own personal brand of Arete. I’m incrementally further along in that time, yet the path to excellence is long. Who says how far down the path I can reach? Does it doesn’t matter as long as we’re progressing down the one that matters most to us?
Ars longa, vita brevis (Art is long, life is short)
Don’t look now, but we’re already 2.5% through the year. What was it we wrote down as our resolution for the year? How’s that going for you? Isn’t it fair to ask? Creating that cadence of accountability is the only way to stay on the path. There are few big leaps forward on the journey to excellence, the path is incremental. And what we do next matters more than what we did yesterday.
Looking back on what I’d set as milestones for this year, I can see that the milestones have mattered in my daily action. Maybe you don’t always feel like brushing your teeth but chances are you do it every day anyway. We know what matters most, but most beat themselves up if they break a streak of working out or don’t lose ten pounds in the first week of a diet. Would you stop brushing your teeth if you missed a day? No! You’d brush them as soon as you got up the next morning! Similarly, getting back on track is all that matters on this incremental path to excellence.
Even the masters fall short of excellence. Who are we to expect it of ourselves? But when you turn around and see how far you’ve come, you recognize that the path takes you so much further than you’d have come otherwise. And the experiences you have along the way are richer for the pursuit.