The Real Enemies of Progress. Steve Obiakor

Every level has a devil and until you conquer the devil you can hardly occupy that level.

Irrespective of what success means to us, we continue to preach that success is a result of self-driven proactive attitude, hard work, discerning abilities, skills, knowledge and talent. Challenges are inevitable and as we move in the ladder of success, the more challenges we encounter. The higher the level, the greater the devil. More often than not, we blame others for our inadequacies and failures and as a result see them as our enemies of progress. Whilst I agree to the existence of detractors, I also believe that the greater enemy of progress lives within. This article looks at some prominent enemies of progress that live within.

  1. Procrastination

It simply means doing your today tomorrow and every tomorrow has a tomorrow and so on. Procrastination is generally known as a thief of time. According to Brian Tracy, those who procrastinate live on the island of ‘Someday I’ll’. Someday I’ll write a book; someday I’ll read this book; someday I’ll start a business; someday I’ll do this and someday I’ll do that.

When you procrastinate about the things you ought to do, you don’t just postpone your success, you lose it. The opportunity of tomorrow is not the one missed yesterday.  Every opportunity missed is gone and that is what procrastination does. It is the number one enemy of progress.

A lot of things lead to procrastination. Some of them include setting unrealistic goals, trying to be perfect and therefore waiting for the perfect time that does not exist. We must set realistic goals so that implementation process no matter the difficulty would not be too cumbersome. Complex situations or ideas could be very discouraging and that is what complex goals bring. We must not try to be perfect; we are humans and are bound to fail; failure is not an end but an opportunity for a new beginning.

Do not wait for a perfect time to do what you ought to do. Start reading that new book today; start the walkout exercise; start that Masters Degree Program. Do not postpone that new skill you want to acquire! Start it today. The most important step in every journey is the first one; take it and others would follow.

  1. Lack of Consistency:

It is not what we do occasionally that leads to success but what we do consistently. If we do a bit of this and a bit of that every now and then, it will not yield the desired result. Consistency means regularity and continuity. It guarantees your reputation and your acceptance which in turn guarantees success. Consistency breeds trust; the quality of your delivery in all you do must experience steady and continuous improvement. Consistency is an element of hard work and dedication.  As you become consistent, your result doubles and progress is guaranteed. Once you begin to deviate from standards, your results become less effective and once it becomes obvious, failure sets in. Consistency is not stagnation; it doesn’t mean remaining in one position for as long as the process lasts; it means adding to the project of our lives every day. Moving one step at a time and continuously.  It means being constant in other virtues such as hard work, dedication, patience, perseverance, productivity, and hope.

It means to constantly adapt to changes and dynamisms of the society and the environment where you operate. It means not allowing the challenges (which must surely come) to weigh you down. That which we do consistently with a positive attitude and a positive mindset shall surely yield the desired results.  When whatever you think, say or do are in consonance with one another, we have enthroned consistency. If what you think is different from what you say and do, be rest assured that no one can trust you.  Set your goals, make your plans and put them in motion. Lack of patience, the desire to be on a fast lane, quick fix and shortcut syndromes are responsible for lack of consistency 

  1. Lack of Self Discipline:

Self-discipline is an element of consistency. Lack of self-discipline breeds other enemies of progress such as procrastination and inconsistency. Self-discipline means doing what you should irrespective of the desire to do another thing. Lack of self-discipline means yielding to different desires and distractions that keep you from focusing on a particular project and bringing it to fruition. There’s the desire to sleep all the time, eat and drink, play and be merry, watch television and all that. But we cannot because life hasn’t been friendly enough to make it so.

Many, though do not have the opportunity to do all mentioned above, yet they fail to do what they ought to do. Self-discipline is doing what you have to do when you have to do it. It is a habit developed over time; no time is too late to start. When you practice self-discipline, gradually it becomes part of you. You’ll notice that more commitment has been put into what you’re doing. You’ll notice more efficiency at your efforts and you’ll get more and more effective results. You need self-discipline as a student; that book has to be read no matter how boring it appears; you have to attend those lectures; you have to prepare for those exams and write to them. You need self-discipline as a career employee. You must get to work early and begin the days’ tasks. Avoid cutting corners; don’t always believe you can explain yourself out.

Those who lack self-discipline abandon their goals at the slightest challenge. They manufacture beautiful excuses and a series of reasons and explanations why failure was the only option. Always think of the end result of your effort and your project as well as the joy it will give you and encourage yourself to move on and remain steadfast.

  1. Ignorance

Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Everybody in the world has knowledge of one thing or the other. Therefore, nobody is a complete ignorance; in the same vein, nobody has absolute knowledge of all things in existence. The question is, how much knowledge does one require to succeed in life? Your answer is as good as mine! Knowledge is as deep as the ocean! It is unlimited as fast as human understanding goes. Knowledge has to do with the amount of information, facts, skills, level of understanding, abilities, etc we are able to garner through formal, informal and self-education. Knowledge is power, knowledge is supreme, knowledge is life and you know what? “People perish for lack of it” (Hosea 4:6).

Going to school or being a graduate of any higher institution or a skill acquisition college is only a foundation for knowledge. Knowledge must be built, developed and its development is continuous till death. Even on death bed, wise minds continue to acquire knowledge till the last breath. Where is knowledge acquired? It is acquired everywhere through careful studying, searches, and researches. careful observations and internalization processes. Perhaps the easiest way to acquire knowledge is through reading and more recently the internet.

Those who do not read are not different from those who cannot read. Reading gets you informed and information is power. He who is not informed is deformed. You need a great depth of knowledge in your endeavor in order to move it to a level of success. Do not stop the process of learning for ignorance is a serious disease and a great enemy of progress.

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