Progress is not guaranteed

April 15, 2024

💡 Work Optional Tip:

It's hard, almost impossible, to imagine a world without innovation. Especially for anyone alive today.

My grandparent's generation witnessed the evolution from radio to TV, my parent's generation saw a man walk on the moon, and I witnessed the internet explode.

This type of progress seems inevitable.

But it's not.

Progress is not a law of nature like gravity, but we take it for granted like it is.

This idea inspired Barack Obama in the State of the Union when he said, "Progress isn't guaranteed. It's not inevitable. It's something that has to be fought for."

Walter Isaacson writes about how this idea terrified Elon Musk when he thought of how technological innovation could be lost. "Mr. Musk found it surprising—and frightening—that technological progress was not inevitable. It could stop. It could even backslide."

What fascinates me is the truth at a personal level. We are not guaranteed a life where we continue to improve.

Personal progress requires consistent effort.

Investments are one of the few things that can move to autopilot. The less we intervene in our investments the better. The greatest investors always remind us to zoom out and ignore the daily movements.

But our health, skills, and our relationships require (sometimes) daily work.

If we stop working out - our health will decline.

If we stop writing - our skill will regress.

If we stop reaching out to our friends & family - we will lose the closeness of these relationships.

At a personal level, few things take care of themselves.

These things do not and cannot move to autopilot.

This idea is part of my inspiration to never retire - I believe I am most fulfilled when progressing.

And I can use my definition of "progress".

Progress does not have to be money or a perfect body. Progress can be more energy, maturity, and closer relationships.

Consistent personal progress is on my internal scorecard.

More on this concept here:

What I'm Reading

📗 Book: Think Again by Adam Grant


Content From Me

📽️ YouTube: The Backdoor Roth IRA

🐦Twitter (X):

🎙️ I was on ChooseFI again! We cover alternatives to the 4% withdrawal strategy (is it possible to die with zero?), what to do when your 401k has high fees, and what to do when your close to the Backdoor Roth IRA phaseout: