Progress, Not Perfection


Last night I did a rare thing for me these days… I watched a movie.

Between working with my Personal and Business Growth Consulting clients, writing, training, spending time with my kids, and just being an all-around handsome man, I don’t get much time these days to kick back and watch a movie just for enjoyment.

The film in question was “The Equalizer”, starring the black JP, Denzel Washington.

Ultimately, I thought it got off to a solid start, but it lost me towards the end (I have the attention span of a two-year old kid when I’m not actively working on something that pertains to my businesses).

One part, or one line more specifically, that stuck out to me however echoed something that I say to my clients on a regular basis.

Denzel was helping an overweight Latino guy who he worked with at the “Home Mart” (a location that was so obviously a Home Depot) lose weight in order to pass the test to become a security guard. This guy’s presence in the movie was clichéd all to hell, and the knowledge that he would become “bait” to lure the protagonist into a showdown, feeding on his “compassionate killer” character, was obvious from the start.

We see Denzel offering guidance to this guy throughout the movie; pushing him after hours with tire drags, and holding him accountable for his dietary choices while at work.

In one scene, this guy describes his lunch to Denzel as a tuna sandwich on some sort of “Paleo/organic/weirdo” bread, with a host of other “Whole Foods” sounding ingredients. Immediately after, we hear a tell-tale “crunch” as he takes a bite.

Denzel shoots him a look, and the guy comically replies that there is a “bone in the tuna”.

A quick inspection of the sandwich however reveals that he had potato chips stacked beneath the “bread” (gasp).

Predictably, he looks at Denzel in a defeated manner, and braces himself for the onslaught of reprimand. Denzel, being the super-cool guy that he is, chastises him a bit, and then says something to him that I say to clients with regularity:

It’s about progress, not perfection.

This idea is something that one needs to embrace if they are to make massive change for the better in any aspect of their life.

What keeps us “going” as human beings, what drives us to push forward, build momentum, and ultimately produce the results we are after is one simple thing:


Progress makes us feel alive. If we feel as though we are standing still, or worse, moving backwards, we are miserable.

This is why I structure everything with my clients so that he or she can recognize and “feel” their progress on a day-to-day basis.

It’s imperative that you design your strategies for success in winnable terms. If you possess a loosely formed “idea” of what you want or where you want to be, this will be much more difficult.

How can you tell you’re progressing towards a target if you don’t know what the target is?

It’s all but impossible.

Understanding that progress is what gives us the fire to keep going, and that the feeling of producing small, measurable results by taking consistent actions towards our objectives is what provides the all-important momentum necessary to stick with the mission for the long haul is one of the first steps to demolishing your personal goals.

Most people have only that loose idea of what they desire, and constantly compare their current situation to whatever that is, emphasizing the gap between the two. This leads to a constant cycle of disappointment, and feelings of angst, frustration, and little motivation to really do anything about it. It is a defeatist mentality, and is not one that is shared by those who really do knock things out of the park.

Once you identify, with clarity, what it is that you really want to produce, it is then possible to “chunk down” that mission into smaller, single-serve, bite-sized objectives. From there it is simply a matter of organizing a plan of action that allows you to take consistent action towards your ultimate objective by accomplishing those smaller tasks, one-by-one, in a daily and (eventually) habitual basis.

This allows you to develop the “habit of success”. Once you do that, it is literally just a matter of time before the nemesis that is your larger goal falls to your sword.

To recap:

  • Get crystal clear about what it is that you want to produce (and not what you DON’T want to produce anymore)
  • Determine some small, actionable steps that you can take that will put you closer to that end
  • Develop a strategy for completing these tasks on a regular (preferably daily) basis
  • Focus on the “progress” that you’re making, and the feeling that comes with the knowledge that you are taking action towards your goals- not on the distance between your current circumstances and the desired outcome

That, my friend, is literally the “magic formula” for making just about anything happen:

Progress, Not Perfection.

To read more about getting laser-like clarity about your desired outcomes, as well as how to “install” them into your unconscious mind deeply, as your personal standards, as well as how to develop your own strategies for accomplishing your key tasks, check out my book “Blueprint to Beast: A Comprehensive Guide to Building the Life of Your Dreams”.



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