Today’s success gurus talk about “major breakthroughs” that will change your life forever, with one simple technique that only takes five minutes. And we believe them because we want it so desperately. We are so tired of working our butts off, day after day, making conscious choices and sacrifices without so much as a day off.
Once in a while, I am blessed with an extra helping of divine grace that propels me forward, or fixes a big problem that I had no idea how to fix. More often, though, I move forward in a life-long series of baby steps. And some days it’s one step forward and two steps back.
Unfortunately, buying that book from that self-help author will not solve all your problems overnight. Of course, go ahead and buy the book, and hopefully it will help you in some way. Spending $17 on a book is certainly wiser than blowing it on entertainment or fast food. But we need to release ourselves from the demand for immediate perfection without effort.
Don’t think of it as giving up. Think of it as getting out of jail. Our demands for perfection in ourselves and others, and our demands for magical solutions, act as prisons that keep us from appreciating the little bits of progress we make each day. Demanding perfection keeps us stuck in guilt and frustration. But when I let go of the need for one magical cure-all, I give myself permission to try, stumble, risk and succeed in little things every day.
I am allowed to take my time.
I have been through some life-changing personal-growth seminars and other helpful experiences. While my world-view sometimes seems to change overnight, I often drift back to old habits soon after the workshop is over. But the learning stays with me, somewhere, if I choose to apply it. My life does not change completely overnight, but rather in baby steps, as I remember what I’ve learned a week later, or a year later, or a decade later – often from learning it over and over again from various experiences.
I’m still learning, still experimenting, still screwing up, and still forgiving myself for being human. On the road to higher consciousness, I’m still waking up.
And that’s okay.