Change is a word we use often. It evokes strong feelings when we hear this word. When used, change sounds dramatic, courageous, and strong. Improvement, on the other hand, bears little resemblance to change. Used much less frequently in conversation, improvement feels timid and shy without much force.
A foundational pillar for improvement to flourish is the need for repetition. Doing somthing over and over is much more boring than embarking on a journey of dramatic change. Developing our skill in an area such as basketball, singing, learning multiplication or playing an instrument are examples where repetition brings better proficiency of a skill. Yet never promising mastery.
Hidden within repetition can be the need for experimentation and trial. Creating a search for a different type of improvement. Where the goal here is to gain more consistent results from your efforts. Finding better ways to organize data, people, projects, work flow, or decision making processes. Small steps that lead to small wins compounding over time to gain strength and impact.
A third dimension of improvement sometimes is made in search of updating by replacement. Here, change gets confused with replacement. For the new family room furniture serves the same purpose as the old. Therefore there was not real change but rather replacement in improving the look of your family room.
Improvement rarely associates itself with speed. Improvement always takes more time than we think and/or notice. Repetition takes time. Trial and experimentation take time. While replacement seems quick, all of the planning and searching for the pieces to fit take time.
We forget that we are human. It’s our humanity and imperfections that slow down improvement. Whether its a skill we are developing, choosing what types of experiments we should focus on, or what color we want to paint our next room in the house. We are not good at any of this, making our efforts more hit or miss then we want them to be.
Making improvement messy requiring both discipline and focus along the way. Always leading us forwards, then backwards and sometimes sideways. No matter which type of improvement we seek. Never hitting a home run. Making it difficult for us to see when we reach first base. Needing a spring garden to give us the inspiration to continue trying, so that we too, with time, can find flowers.