Progress evaluation for entrepreneurs – Part 2

What exactly is progress?
This is a continuation of a series I began last week. In the first article we looked at the various misconceptions about progress. To answer that question, let me begin by painting you a picture of two scenes which I believe you will be quite familiar with. This will greatly influence your understanding of the concept of progress.

Scene one
Imagine that you stopped a cab driver and told him to take you to a particular place, let’s say that you were in location ‘A’ and you wanted to get to location ‘D’. This journey on a typical day traveling at an average speed of 60km/hr would take you 2 hours to get to location ‘D’ from location ‘A’. Having discussed and agreed on the price, you got into the cab and the driver started driving at a speed of 120km/hr towards another destination which you could clearly recognize wasn’t the destination of your choice (location ‘D’). Then, in less than the estimated time (2 hours), let’s say 30minutes, the cab driver suddenly parked at a junction labeled location ‘B’ and demanded for his money claiming that you’ve gotten to your destination. As the passenger, what would your reaction be? Would you regard your journey as progressive or retrogressive? What’s your answer (progressive or retrogressive)? Why did you arrive at such conclusion?

Scene two
Imagine that you stopped a cab driver and without saying a word told him to start driving because you were in a hurry to get away from your present location to somewhere entirely ‘different’ but not ‘specific’. In a matter of seconds, the cab is in motion and the driver is moving as fast as he possibly can, let’s say 180km/hr in an attempt to get you away from your current location just as you’ve rightly instructed him. Suddenly, having driven at top speed for about 2 hours you tapped the driver and asked him where on earth he was taking you to? As the cab driver, what would your reaction be? Would you regard your journey as progressive or retrogressive? What’s your answer (progressive or retrogressive)? Why did you arrive at such conclusion? I leave you to your imagination.

Interpretation of scene one
As the passenger, the journey can’t be regarded as progressive because the cab driver didn’t take you (the passenger) to your desired destination (location ‘D’) but rather took you to a different destination (location ‘B’). Despite the fact that the cab driver actually did move, at least from location ‘A’ to location ‘B’, the journey cannot be deemed progressive in the eyes of the passenger whose desired destination was location ‘D’. Therefore, the journey was retrogressive as far as the passenger is concerned. The fault is from the cab driver who was more interested in how fast he traveled (motion) rather than focusing on where the passenger was headed (destination). If I were the passenger, I won’t pay the cab driver.

Interpretation of scene two
As the cab driver, the journey can be regarded as progressive because the aim of the passenger was achieved. Since the passenger’s instruction to the cab driver was to be taken away from the current location to any other location but the present one, the cab driver indeed made progress because he succeeded in getting the passenger to any different location other than the current one. Therefore, the journey wasn’t retrogressive as far as the cab driver is concerned. The fault is actually from the passenger who failed to identify and communicate a definite location to the cab driver.

Both scenarios painted above points to one singular truth; progress does not exist in vacuum. It is a combination of two or more factors or elements which are to be defined by the parties involved. These are certain elements or factors which must be considered individually and critically before one can accurately define and measure progress. Any attempt to measure your personal progress without first considering and clarifying these factors will produce an incomplete and biased result.

The meaning of Progress
The word ‘progress’ according to the 2010 edition of Microsoft Encarta software dictionary means one; “positive development: development, usually of a gradual kind, toward achieving a goal or reaching a higher standard and two; motion toward something: movement forward or onward.”

Simply put; progress means a positive and gradual but steady advancement or movement towards a preconceived or predetermined object, goal or destination. Speed comes second, what you must know and define first, is your desired destination, goal or objective. Progress is all about setting first an end; something specific that you are willing to go all out to accomplish. The manner, approach and speed at which you want to go about achieving that end comes second. Often times, the problem is not that time has gone or that years have gone by, but rather, a problem of lack of purpose, vision or goal.


Tito Philips Jnr. is a young Nigerian that is M.A.D. – Making A Difference

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