Increment Progress Over Misguided Momentum (Kaizen)

As important as momentum is to progress, momentum in the wrong direction or in too many directions at once is counterproductive.

We need to break free from the things that are holding us back, whether these are fear, procrastination, distraction, or some other form of internal or external resistance, and get moving in the direction of our personal, occupational, relational, or creative goals.

That is to say, progress requires momentum.

The more momentum we have, the more progress we seem to make and, the more progress we make, the more momentum we seem to have.

This can result in the misguided tendency to conflate the two, but momentum and progress are not the one-in-the-same.

The fact is that momentum, alone, does not necessarily give us the kind of progress we want or need.

While momentum is a powerful tool for change, if not properly informed, focused, and balanced, the change it creates can be be chaotic or even destructive.

It is far better to make slower, steadier, and more careful steps in the right direction than it is to make great leaps in the wrong direction or in too many directions at once.

By focusing on small, incremental progress, we give ourselves room to pivot, to alter or reverse our position and direction if we realize we have made a mistake or that our goals or environment has changed.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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