The Best Way to Know if You Have Improved
It is good to be able to track your progress throughout life. However, sometimes it can be hard on deciding how. So here is how I know if I have improved.
“In order to move forward, you have to look back.”
- Matt Maher
Improvement is often not a sudden thing. It tends to happen slowly over time, with each step bringing you closer to mastery. We do tend to take these small steps towards improvement for granted. We hate getting things wrong and seeing the gaps in our progress whilst on our way.
Whilst learning to play the piano, I used to get frustrated with every scale and note I played out of position. It angered me that I could not get it the first time. Sometimes months would go past, and I was still struggling with the same problems. However, after a year or two, the errors were polished out of my playing.
The problem is most people do not enjoy the process of mastery. They do not want to do what it takes to get to the level of genius in whatever they are doing. Although the process is straightforward, it is not an easy journey to embark on.
When we get stuck and feel like we want to give up, it is not the desire to move forward that keeps us going. I have found that my greatest motivators often come from looking back on my progress. Due to seeing how far I have come, I seek to keep moving forward.
So here is the best way to know if you have improved.
The Process of Revisiting Your Old Work
It can be rough looking back at the work you once did, especially when you are not pleased with it. But now and then, I find myself bumping into one of my old articles. And I can not bear reading it. Amazingly, over a year, my style, tone and structure have changed so much. Knowing that my skills have improved has left me wondering if I should ever revisit those articles.
Funny enough, I found the courage to do it. And despite me being somewhat disappointed in myself, I have learned to appreciate them. It is through reading those old articles I have found that I have improved more than I ever thought. Even my results are showing me this. The process of reviewing your old work is not fun, but it is rewarding.
The first step to reviewing your past work is to experience disgust. You are meant to be shocked and appalled that you were once that individual. It should move you to want to never look at it again or even throw it away.
The second step is then feeling a little sorry for yourself. After all, you probably could not have done any better even if you tried. Your past self did not have the knowledge or experience you have now.
Finally, we express gratitude for the work we did. Acknowledging it was a small stepping stone to the person you have become is part of it. My bad articles did hinder my results, but they did help my progress. I was only able to develop my writing skills by starting there and building into the writer I am today. And I still have a long way to go.
Acting Upon Your Gratitude
Gratitude is not stagnant. When we are truly grateful for something, we tend to act upon it. The best way to explain this is in romantic relationships. Partners who appreciate one another do things regularly to show it. That may be through the giving of gifts or putting time aside for the person. Whatever it is, it is an expression of gratitude.
Many say we are thankful for past experiences as they taught us lessons. Yet still, we live contrary to the lesson it taught. We may appreciate it, but if our behaviours have not changed, our gratitude is not genuine.
The last step to revisiting your old work is the most important one. Without seeing the value in it, you will never act upon it. The best way to know if you have improved is by looking back at past work, but to improve further, action is required.
The Best Way to Show Gratitude
You can show your gratitude for your old work by taking another shot at it. As your improved self, you should be able to elevate the standard of the old piece of work and see the results of doing so. For example, an article I wrote in 2019 probably only got a couple of views because the standard was not as good. Therefore, by re-writing it and seeing the results, I can tell if I have truly improved.
Announcing a New Series
Since 2019, I have grown a lot, so it would be interesting to see how my views have changed on some topics. So, I will be re-thinking some of my old articles and bringing them back to life.
I will let you know it is a repost by adding the link to the old blog post and signing off as “A Re-thought”.
As we are starting to come towards the last four months of the year, I encourage you to do the same. Start thinking about the skills you have gained and how you can apply them to make your past work better.
A Useful Thought.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.