Everyone knows that the key to success is persistence. And, in this world of instant gratification and short attention spans, it’s not always easy to stay focused on something long enough for it to work.
Let’s take or example, the stonecutter. This is a metaphor for the human race. We have been hitting away at our potential, and we are not getting anywhere with it. But then, on the 101st hit of an idea or thought that was never before attempted, everything changes. The world celebrates this new idea and develops it into something even better than what was originally created.
But what really happened was nothing more than a build up of all those small efforts and moments leading up to that one split second when everything came together for one perfect moment. I think we often overlook these little moments because they don’t seem significant enough but I also think we need to be mindful of them because they are just as important as any other part in achieving our goals or getting through tough times.
The plateau of latent potential is a place where humans are stuck in their everyday lives without seeing any real progress. It could be because they lack motivation to do something else, or they believe that nothing will change regardless of what they do.
This plateau can lead to feelings of hopelessness as well as apathy towards life in general which can eventually cause them to give up altogether on trying anything new or different — leading back to another plateau of latent potential: feeling like there’s no point in doing anything anymore if nothing ever works. What if you’re stuck on this plateau for too long, then everything just becomes stagnant and boring and unfulfilling. So how do you get off this dreaded plateau?
Well, I’m not going to tell you because we all have different ways of getting through tough times. But I will say one thing: keep trying! It might take 100 tries before something finally works out for us, so why should we give up after just one or two tries? If we stop trying now then what was our goal in the beginning? The term plateau comes from the feeling that your progress has slowed down or stopped, but it hasn’t. This is because when we hit a plateau, we are actually closer to our goal than ever before.
There are many examples of people who have had a plateau period before they achieved their goals or dreams:
- JK Rowling was rejected 12 times by publishers before she finally got published
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team –
- Henry Ford failed at 5 different businesses before he created one that succeeded
The list goes on and on — but what these stories teach us is that if you keep going, eventually you’ll make it through your plateau period and achieve your goal!
It is no secret that not seeing visible progress is frustrating. When you work toward a goal but fail to see tangible results, you might feel closer to quitting than you think. After all, why continue dedicating your time to something that doesn’t seem to be making a meaningful difference in your life?
You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.” – James Clear
The truth about achieving massive success is that it takes a long time. Just because progress is invisible doesn’t mean it is not there. In terms of progress and performance, there is often a delay between what we think should happen and what actually happens. We work and work but find it hard to reconcile why results don’t align with our expectations. Truly, progress isn’t linear and desired results are often delayed.
Clear calls the delay between expectations and results the Plateau of Latent Potential, or the ‘Valley of Disappointment’, because people often get discouraged when weeks or even months of hard work take time to produce the breakthrough event.
Complaining about not achieving success despite working hard is like complaining about an ice cube not melting when you heated it from 25 to 31 degrees. All the action happens at 32 degrees.” – James Clear
We can only keep working hard, we can only keep trying because no one can see or tell which ‘hit’ will crack the rock and we will cheat ourselves out of a well deserved win when we give up prematurely. The plateau is real and anyone can suffer from feeling hopeless and helpless against the ‘invisible’ signs of progress but success is not just the result of persistence but also the process of staying hard on a course and channeling all energies to a task.
You must be consistent, give your best daily and know that, the little efforts are building up into something big which will be celebrated when the world sees it; when you break through. The beautiful thing about life is knowing that no effort is ever not recorded; every effort makes the work a little less difficult, in the background, those efforts mean something and it will start to show; we only can never tell the time when these efforts will reflect in actual results.
When it feels like too much time has passed and you’re struggling to wait for the desired results to show, know there’s something building up in the background and the world will see the results as success but you’ll know that this was your 101st hit!!
I’m looking forward to when we all celebrate that last hit and the world sees it as our big success but we’ll know; we’ll know it was the last hit that sent the stone cracking into tiny pieces.