(When Did it Become Unacceptable to) Show Your Work?

This past week, I was working away on a yoga pose that I’ve been working away on for approximately 16 years(give or take the odd year or two…) and guess what? I had another breakthrough about what might make it a tiny bit easier.

It’s hard to describe the satisfaction this afforded me.

Because while I have the ability to do lots of poses that look far fancier, this one has proved Sisyphean.

And what that means is that I treasure every tiny change in my understanding in a very different way than any breakthrough in understanding of easier, fancier poses.

Which got me to thinking: when did this idea—of the satisfaction of working away at something for the work’s sake—become something we decided not to talk about and/or applaud?

Think about it. When someone is able to do something with no apparent effort we say admiringly, “Wow, s/he’s a natural!”

But when we watch someone struggle—or we struggle ourselves—it’s far rarer to say—or think—admiringly, “Wow, you are (I am) nowhere with this– but oh boy am I (are you) busting a hump!” 

And yet I’m quite certain there are any number of you that feel the same way I do about valuing those things you’ve worked hard for far more than those things that came easily.

And while I know there is a cliché in here about “valuing the journey and not the destination,” I don’t think we are talking enough about—I don’t think we are applauding loudly enough for— the depths and the dirt of the journey.

We aren’t talking loudly and often enough about the importance of showing your work.

Frances Jones Cole signature