Measure of Progress

There was a debate at work about what is a good measure of progress. Is it the work you’ve already put in versus the total amount of work you’ve to put in? Or is it the time already spent over the total time that needs to be spent eventually on what it takes to get to the level you are hoping for it to be? Or it is based on a performance benchmark?

Objectively that means very different things for people at different role. For a theater actress or singer, what is her progress towards completing her show tonight? Does the progress bar start only when the show starts or when she first starts rehearsing. How about the blacksmith making an axe? Does it start when he starts the furnace or when he first strikes the hot iron? How then does the prior years of work, mastery factor into the progress of this one piece of work?

What about a caligrapher who wants to reach a certain level of mastery? If we are accounting by the total time or work spent, then he might seem like a great pro when he’s actually only halfway to being a master because the tail end bit of perfection takes a lot more work and time. But we won’t think he’s only half of a master, do we?

How do you think about measuring progress? Especially to your goals and life?