Common objection 12: I’ve worked so long and hard but feel like I’m getting nowhere or going backward

January 30, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog, Leadership, Tips

[This post is part of a series on internal objections and blocks and how to overcome them. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]


I don’t think you can significantly change your life, at least not at the beginning, without thinking something like

I’ve been working on this for six months and I’m farther back than I was when I started.


I try so hard and I never get anywhere.

For small or simple changes we may progress monotonically, but major changes don’t seem to work that way.


I’m sure you’ve had this feeling yourself.

Underlying belief

You get frustrated that progress isn’t monotonic when you believe that

Progress should be monotonic.

or that

Emotional challenges are like physical challenges – you can just power through them.

In my experience emotional challenges discourage you — meaning your motivation decreases, not just that you have to overcome something.

Alternative belief

Progress varies. Sometimes you have to backtrack.

Emotional challenges make you feel like a different person.

Discouragement feels very discouraging.

Everyone faces similar challenges.

Alternative strategy

Facing and overcoming discouragement is a skill in itself. Develop that skill and you can overcome worlds of new challenges.

Overindulge in the feelings of reward when things do work out.


This obstacle is a prominent example of empathy gaps.

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