To begin with I would like to say that the topic of the essay may be thought as a great metaphor for life. If we ask how much time and energy do we spend just to hold on things and go outside the status quo it will be an honest question. From the one side we can say that the majority of time we spend each day is spent running just to stay in the same place. To continue with I can say that the percentage of the day spent on our growth seems to be very low! Every day we have a lot of fixed routine – eating, taking a shower, sleeping, studying or working.
I suppose that during a week, there are only a few hours probably which we really invest in something beyond just maintaining what we already have. Fitness is a good example. A person has been training regularly for a long time. And that going to the gym may not mean gaining strength or losing fat. Two times per week at the gym sustain his or her present fit, but they don’t improve it. That person even had moments when his or her physical shape was getting worse even though he or she was training regularly, simply because the intensity had been dropped.
The necessity to spend much time on maintenance isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, if your life is mostly spent holding the status quo, that could mean there is a lot worth maintaining in your life. Some person could complain that he or she needs to spend hours a week just to keep the business in the same state. Or he or she could be extremely grateful that he or she has the great chance to communicate and work with marvelous people every day doing the favorite activities.
I suspect that the same thing may be true in the most of our lives. Life really takes an amount of time to maintain especially when it is worth maintaining truly. The other side of this is that when you get an improvement, it becomes easier to stop the growth. When exercising two times per week just keeps you in the same fit, how can you go beyond? The trap is that the effort that goes beyond the status quo is scarce. And unless we pay attention to it carefully, it can slip through our fingers.
One way to avoid the trap is to mentally separate tasks which maintain your position from ones which allow you to grow. That way the hundreds of hours you spend each week don’t drown out the few hours you actually invest. I’m not confident a person can easily remove maintenance tasks without also removing the growth tasks. With relationships, you can’t streamline out all the face time and communication just to spend it on intimacy-deepening moments.
With fitness, you can’t cut out all the workouts and just focus on the extra few reps and miles that build strength and stamina. Business and work may be an important exception, as you grow you can reinvest your gains into delegating, eliminating or automating the parts you’ve already mastered. That isn’t always possible with many other areas of life, and even if it were, it might not be desirable. But even if you can’t automate your love life, there’s still tremendous value in knowing how much of your running is going beyond keeping you in the same place.
Courtney from Study Moose
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