Any problem you have…

…is probably fixable.

Think about it. Humans have cured polio. We discovered bacteria. We put people on the moon. We have cell phones which are as sci-fi as you can imagine. They let me talk to someone in China…if I so choose. So progress happens if we want it to, but it is not automatic.

In my personal experience, I am learning that there are two key components of creativity and progress.

First, I have to accept that progress will bring with it unintended consequences. These can be positive: For example back in the day we learned about atmospheric pressure which allowed us to create vacuums which allowed us to create combustion engines to push trains down a track. But they can also be negative: those combustion engines spit out pollution of all sorts. Personally, to become more creative has led me to quit unsatisfactory jobs, to learn about publishing, marketing and blogging. However it has also led me to become super self-critical. This is good sometimes in a work context, but it can impact other areas of my life. I never expected this as a side-effect.

The key for me is that progress is always better than the alternative, which is stagnation. It is a truth which I have had to get my head around. Stagnation is easier but far more destructive to my life. I think this applies universally to our race.

Next, for progress to occur, there needs to be focus. This may be internal – are you sure of what you are trying to achieve? Are you putting in the time and work? Or it may be a matter of collaboration. Do you have another person who will help you progress? I am learning that focus essentially means aligning of habits and habitual behaviour. Mine were all out of whack before I chose to be more creative.

I find it comforting that there are broad rules and conditions for progress. It helps my creativity and keeps pushing me on to fix problems each day. What helps you make progress?