Finding Your ‘Right’ Balance of Progress and Appreciation

Progress feels great. I would rather walk slowly than be stuck in heavy traffic in a car or a taxi.

I want to keep moving forward. Often when I find myself either stagnating or losing altitude (as has happened recently in my business) I can feel unmotivated, anxious and even depressed.

A lot of people far more successful than me (actors, athletes and financiers) have acknowledged similar feelings.

I was taught (unconsciously) that steady forward progress in life was the expectation. And I am sure I communicated that message to my sons, through my words, attitudes and actions.

Sadly stagnation and failure are a part of life. Hedonic adaptation makes going backwards, even temporarily, very hard psychologically. 

So should we keep finding that new mountain to scale?

I would argue yes. And point people towards new activities, hobbies and career paths.

Should we set our expectations lower? I am all for realistic achievable goals, but I would not counsel lowering expectations too much.

Equally importantly I am now working on accepting failure (whatever that means for each of us relative to our personal goals) and acknowledging that feeling distressed is ok.

And, to offset the painful feelings (but not to ignore them,) I am working daily on appreciating when things go well, noticing the little positive things that I have often simply taken for granted, and am actively looking forward to new experiences I have planned.

The world becomes a better place when people are interested in making forward progress.

And the world becomes a happier place when people find pride in their achievements, even if it did not turn out perfectly.

Each of us needs to find our ‘right balance’ of progress and gratitude.

Aditya Dehejia

Adi’s experiences as a CFO and HR leader in start-up companies inspired him to start the CxO Leadership Accelerator. He saw firsthand the challenges in building a satisfying career, the importance of leaders in developing people, and the difficulty in building broad business acumen while excelling in your functional role. Prior to his operating career in start-ups, Adi held roles in a growth capital investment firm and in the corporate development and strategy department at a Fortune 500 company. Adi is an active volunteer mentor in the FirstRound Capital and TechStars networks as well as within his University alumni communities. Adi was born in India and immigrated to the US at age ten. He attended Princeton University (graduated with a degree in Politics) and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He lives in the suburbs of New York City and has two adult sons and two lovable, crazy dogs.

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