On Plateaus

I grew up on a plateau, literally.

A strong formative memory is of sweeping views across hills to a saddle-backed mountain range.

These days however, reaching a plateau in your studies or career or business or personally, is typically viewed as a negative, we’ve stalled.

Isn’t progress an ever upward, straight line to mastery?

Perhaps it takes a while, but eventually we may notice that life and growth are non-linear.

Periods of success, learning and gains are often followed by dips and regression as things get hard or old habits re-assert. Two steps forward, one step back, if we are fortunate and persistent.

But what about times when nothing much changes? When we circle in one place? When ennui or staleness haunts us? When we reach a plateau?

Shouldn’t we be cracking on? Breaking through? Figuring it all out and innovating relentlessly?

How exhausting …

On a plateau we are granted time to look around, to take stock, to consolidate, to noodle on the side gig, to rest and regenerate.

Old salts know that when the wind doesn’t blow, it’s time to attend to the small jobs neglected when sails are full.

We can count on it, the next burst of activity or challenge will appear.

And in this way, we are ready.

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