I planted a garden this spring. It is thriving like no garden ever before in my life, and I am struck by the speed with the which the bean plant climbs it's trellise and the cauliflower plant (bush, really) spreads it leaves. Even after a month of watching it, I was still surprised to find it had again transformed after a recent trip east. And yet, for all that growing, if I sat for an hour or a day or a week straight with eyes propped open, watching, I would never see it change.
When it comes to doing the thing, it's always easiest to imagine the phenomenon as an event, a threshold situation. That is, one day we're on the side of not having done it yet, and the next day we have done it. Hallelujah.
But of course, that's not how changes work. Necessarily, changes happen at the speed at which they can't be readily noticed, and that's because true change is a process of gradually becoming. You don't receive change, you earn it.
And those who really get this law of nature, this speed-limit of delta, are shaped by it. The superior athlete cultivates a routine that allows them to train at their best, day-in and day-out; the true musician carves their life up to find moments of calm, where single-minded focus may reign; the dedicated writer faces the blinking cursor and blank page every day. No excuses, no fantasies, no distractions--especially not the ones called "success" or "failure".
So when change does happen--and for those who really buckle-down, it always does--that moment of clarity, in which we realize that the threshold has finally been crossed, the success ceases to matter in the same way that it did all those months or years ago. The goal has faded even as it has been accomplished. The garden sprouts, grows, bears fruit, and is turned into next years soil.
Time for replanting.