My plan for this reflection was to tell you the secrets of progress, and how we can go about achieving it. However, after some thought and deliberation I realised that was going to be very hard to do, this is because progress is more than what the basic definition implies. To really understand progress, you actually have to explore the idea of comfort. Comfort is a very dangerous concept because your initial reaction to it may be of a big warm bed, a fireplace, home; however, comfort can also be thought of as sticking to the norm, and this is where I believe the trouble begins. I think you can never achieve true progress while you’re still in the comfort zone.
This can be very quickly proven by going through some of humanity’s greatest progresses. Galileo’s ground-breaking discovery that the earth revolved around the sun saw him being put under house arrest for eight years. He knew what was bound to happen by releasing his discoveries, but he stepped out the comfort zone, put his career and even life on the line, all for the progress of humanity.
Nelson Mandela was aware of the risks of his actions, and saying he was uncomfortable during his 27 years in prison would be a shameful understatement. But thanks to him apartheid ended in South Africa, a country now known as the Rainbow nation. The list goes on and on, from the suffragettes to gay pride, and every single one of them could have backed down. They could have listened to the haters and the cynics, given up on their ideas, just tried to make the best of their situation and learned to live with what they had. But these people knew the deeper meaning of progress, that accepting something unjust or untrue isn’t enough.
I’m not saying you can only progress by changing the world. To use something more relatable, if you go through school just doing the bare minimum, you won’t progress. Only turning up to one rugby training session each week will have a similar result. Progress requires sacrifices, an extra hour a week studying, or going on a run before school.
Because like Nelson Mandela or Galileo Galilei, I believe there’s no point living comfortably, when you have the opportunity to progress.