“I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” – Jacob Riis
We crave the confirmation of progress. Whether that be weekly increases in weights, continual raises at work, or anything between. It can be in our nature to seek out those signals. Yet we can learn something from the stonecutter.
When a stonecutter addresses his next task, splitting a giant stone in two, he starts hammering away. One blow at a time, he lines up each and every strike with meticulous precision. 10 strikes pass by, and there is no visible change to the stone. 50 strikes go by, and still no visible change. No cracks, dents, or any indication of… anything. 100 strikes pass, and, the same. On the 101st strike, it splits in two.
Through the 100 strikes, there wasn’t an external signal or sign that this was working. But beneath the surface, invisible to the eye, the stone was splitting with each passing blow. It wasn’t something different about the final strike… it was instead the culmination of all 101 blows. Impossible without a single one of them.
True change takes place from the inside out. And much like the stonecutter, we have two options: to spend emotional energy worrying if we’re making progress, or to have full faith in the process, spending every ounce of focus we have on that next strike.
1 Mile Run
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run