As a kid, I once heard that “watched pots never boil,” and I actually believed it. I realized had never directly observed water coming to a boil, and in my little monkey mind I figured that the act of watching it somehow stalled or negated the boiling process.
Of course, I was a curious kid, so I set up a simple experiment and (spoiler alert) watched the water actually boil.
However, it wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized this idiom is actually kind of true, in a way. Of course, the water will boil eventually. It has nothing to do with our observation of it.
But the intense scrutiny we direct towards the heating water makes time stretch out, and makes the process feel longer and more arduous than it actually is.
Well, improvement is like that, too.
If you spend all day watching the scale, or hyper focused on performance numbers, it can make the entire process just drag out and feel impossible. Especially when those numbers briefly go in the wrong direction (and they always, eventually, will at times).
It’s only when you immerse yourself in the enjoyment of the training, when your focus is elsewhere, that improvement can more dramatically be felt or seen.
The joy of painting is not about creating a masterpiece, and the joy of music is not about becoming a commercial success. The joy of art is in the art itself.
It is through the artistic process, not its products, that we grow and learn more about ourselves.
So put in the work, have fun, and be consistent. You don’t have to always see it happen to make it happen.