The other day I heard a quote.
It said that “each day we are presented with two options: to evolve or repeat.”
And I like the simplicity of that concept. It posits that either we are moving forward, or we are moving backwards.
For someone like me, this simple reminder is motivating and keeps me focused, as I am hell-bent on moving forward and almost terrified of going backwards or making the same mistakes I have made as a younger man.
I see too many people stuck in the same routines and repeating the same patterns, spinning in circles so fast they can’t figure out how to hop off.
And I want to scream, “If you want something different, do something different!”
Every day I work to get better, to learn, to grow, and to evolve.
But here’s what I’ve learned lately:
Life, work, and the world in general are not that simple. Growth is not as binary as forward or backwards — at least in the small increment of one day.
I used to pressure myself to the point that if I didn’t see immediate progress, it would have a negative effect on me and then actually cause me to slip back into those patterns I didn’t want to repeat.
I put so much stress on productivity, that I couldn’t see where I was going — what my long-term goals were. Now that I’ve started to understand more about the way the world works, I know that long term stories are never simple as up or down, forward or backwards.
Instead, they are a series of ups and downs and round and rounds and there’s not one path forward.
The concept of working to get better is still one I think we all should adopt. Just with a longer lens. I still work to learn, to evolve, and to grow.
But I try not to pressure myself, like the old Rain would.
Because now I understand that if I make a mistake, I learn. I apply those lessons learned to the next attempt and I am better because of it.
Now I understand If I can’t do something I want to, I don’t try to force it with fast-action or brute strength, pushing through the struggle just because I want to check it off my list. I adapt and find another (usually easier) way.
Perhaps most importantly, if I just can’t go hard that day, or I need an extra hour or two to sleep, or I carve out time just to meditate even when I need to be writing my Chapelboro column, I rest.
Now I understand that when I rest, it is not me backing down from the challenge or not hustling hard for my dream. Rest is crucial to forward progress because, just like a muscle, that is when we grow — not when we are working hard.
The rest is necessary, especially for your long-term goals.
I still don’t like the thought of going backwards.
But now I understand that even if that happens, it doesn’t mean I have failed. Instead, I zoom out and look at my long-term trajectory. And if it trends up, showing growth from the macro perspective, that is what I am aiming for.
The work that we do during a day matters. It really does.
If you read this column frequently, you know how I feel about the small consistent steps we do on a daily basis and how important they are.
We can still use the concept of “evolve or repeat” to make ourselves better humans.
I just think we need to remember that evolution happens over time.
Rain Bennett is a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, writer, and competitive storyteller with over a decade of experience producing documentary films that focus on health and wellness. His mission is simple: to make the world happier and healthier by sharing stories of change.
You can read the rest of “Right as Rain” here, and check back every Wednesday on Chapelboro for a new column!