7 Reasons We Avoid Progress

We have to be very careful with progress. Progress can be a fun. Most leaders want to see progress. Most people do also.

But, as much as we may want – and need – progress, there are reasons we naturally tend to avoid it.

Here are 7 reasons we avoid progress:

It stretches us – Progress always takes us in areas we’ve never been before.

I recently hired a personal trainer. We spend a lot of time stretching. If you stretch enough, as much as I may need to, it hurts! I have to fill a little pain so I can eventually feel better and be more productive in my workouts.

It invites change – Always. You can’t have progress without it. Progress loves to stir interest in something new. And, to fuel and maintain the momentum brings continual change.

It’s like buying a new couch for the living room. Pretty soon, if you like the couch enough, you want more new. You might have to have a new rug in front of the couch. And, then a new chair. And, new curtains. (You get the idea.)

You have to improve – I often say, “You have to get better to get bigger.” It’s true. Progress, requires more energy and effort as it progresses.

Every time I’ve initiated some type of development opportunity it’s required a learning curve among our people. We have to figure something out we have previously never done.

It’s often messy – Progress often goes where there is not a defined system or procedures. In finding new territory, progress gets messy at times.

Most of us, even the risk takers among us, (people like me) prefer something in our life, which is safe and predictable. Getting to real progress seldom is.

It often defies logic or boundaries – Traditional lines of thought won’t always work with progress. You’ll have to think beyond what’s pre-determined, established, and even normal at times.

In church revitalization, for example, as much as we try to build upon the past there really isn’t any way to move forward unless you challenge the way things have always been done. This is often where the resistance begins. It’s uncomfortable.

It invites competition – No one pays attention to a stagnant organization. Show people a little progress and someone will want to join the fun!

Of course, we are all on the “same team” in church work – right? But, our competition isn’t necessarily other churches. The more we find ways to get people into church – the more there is in the world to distract them.

It begs for more – Progress begets progress. People want to keep experiencing the thrill of victory.

And, that stretches us even more, which invites more change, and makes us even more uncomfortable.

You can’t say you haven’t been warned. We have a choice. If we want to achieve progress we have to make sure we are prepared for the “progress” it brings.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • […] This article originally appeared here. […]

  • — It always challenges the status quo.
    — It increases our producitvity and efficiency.
    — It often ends up in some innovation or discovery.
    — It makes us think creatively.
    — It sets up apart.

  • HexColor says:

    I have never tried meditating and would be willing to give it a go for a month. If you still have it I would like to try the CD.

  • Kari Scare

    Reading the books on margin by Dr. Richard Swenson really opened my eyes to the impact of progress on our lives and how much it adds to busyness and overload. The lesson I have applied the most from his books is the necessity to deliberately limit how much I let progress affect my life. To a great extent, progress' impact is impossible to stop, so we have to deliberately limit how much we let into our lives where we can. This is a constant battle, but it's one we have to be diligent about. If we are not deliberate and intentional, progress will cause our lives to be overrun with too many choices and too much technology.

  • Kmac4him

    With my zeal leading me, I jumped too quickly without counting the costs of the time involved and put my priorities out of order, so it cost me letting a website sit for a while and a business I started too quickly sit for a while. I am back peddling, but hope to catch up to my impulsive jump start. So Yes, count the time cost, can you pay it when you progress forward to keep the momentum at the right speed. I could not… jumped in too fast, wasn't ready. Thanks for this post. It was helpful.

  • James says:

    R.E., great post! Exactly what I needed to day. I have recently began a position with a new church and have started to run into this. Any suggestions to breaking off complacency and old, bad habits and easing my team into forward progress?

  • Ben Steele says:

    It brings criticism. People start saying, "The old way has worked all this time. Why do we need a new way?"

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