Exploring Human Potential

DAILY CHOICE: Progress vs. Retreat


Progress occurs in small steps not in large. A few more moving forward then backward, in any one day, or year, or decade is cause for hope. To expect never to be reversed is unrealistic. After all people retrench and retreat with near the frequency as they advance and still manage to strike out anew. It’s important though, if humans are to maintain their optimism, that in the end, in the net, forward overcomes backward. Progress requires risk, the risk of trying something new. Progress seekers try to change the world and sometimes succeed. They do not comply, relent or agree but dissent and gradually nudge against the static force. When the force responds by pushing back, they may decide to yield. For yielding eliminates the risk of no return and sure defeat. Progress requires tactics, sometimes go around, sometimes through proves best to get your way. Adaptability and good sense determine when to take advantage and when to give advantage away. For progress sometimes can occur in full retreat knowing that fighting the battle would lose the war and avoiding the battle could secure the ultimate prize.


A thousand things advance, nine hundred and ninety-nine retreat; that is progress.
Henri Frederic Amiel

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his head out.
James Bryant Conant

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw

As the soft yield of water cleaves obstinate stone, so to yield with life solves the insolvable; to yield, I have learned, is to come back again.

The only way round is through.
Robert Frost

Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forgo an advantage.
Benjamin Disraeli

Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.
Norman Vincent Peale

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