Your garden variety snail has a top speed of about 1.67cm per minute. Hardly a speed demon, unless you’re comparing it to Internet Explorer, or treacle flowing uphill on a Friday afternoon. When you watch one cruising along, they seem like they’re hardly going anywhere. Give the little critter a month and a half though, and at that speed they can travel more than a kilometre. Not bad for someone carrying their house on their back. (You might think they’d go faster without it, but in fact that would only make them more Sluggish)
I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m the snail going nowhere, moving so slowly in terms of social development and conquering my anxieties that I’ll never make any meaningful progress. Then I remember that it only seems like I’m not improving because I’m only comparing myself to how I was yesterday, or last week, or six months ago.
When I look back further, the difference is astounding. When I was 18 I could barely leave the house. When I was 20 I was scared of cigarette butts and couldn’t go within two meters of a rubbish bin. None of these things even bother me anymore.
Progress can slip by without us realizing. It’s like how the small hand on a clock doesn’t seem to be moving when you look at it, but in twelve hours it travels all the way around.
So next time you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, try thinking back five years, or ten. You’ve probably come a lot further than you realize.