Modern society is obsessed with the idea of forward actions leading to lasting progress. Perhaps I am wrong, but it would seem to me that these are particular modern concepts and have been accelerated significantly since the invention of the clock and the adoptsion of the modern calendar.
Calendars from antiquity focused much more on long-term cycles (repeating in monthly, yearly, and longer increments of seven years, fifty years, or even 5,126 years). Times were measured since the start of recent events but there was never the same impersonal permanence of a number line stretching forward into eternity from a single point in time as there is today.
I find it helpful to remember this fact when thinking about changes from days to weeks to months, and even years. The power of the cycle is greater than the power of the line: it allows from familiarity, rhythm, and for variance. Some might mistake cycles for lack of progress, from a two-dimensional view it can sometimes look that way. When viewed in three dimensions, however, the view of the repetitions expand to look much more like a spiral staircase than a monotonous loop.
Nature tries to teach us the power of the cycles with the pervasiveness of them: circadian rhythms, lunar patterns, and solar journeys among them. On a more personal level it seems healthy to also recognize and value our cycles -- and focus our drive for towards towards making sure we are climbing the spiral stairway instead of descending down.
Be anxious about progress but don't be afraid of the repetition that it requires -- just think of your stairway to heaven not as a passive escalator but as an demanding spiral staircase.
husband & father; cyclist; former senior advisor in obama white house;
senior strategists for csforall; nomcon lead; owner of initial velocity...