This “essay” is a bit of an experiment, format-wise. I’d like to draw the reader’s attention to a certain way of thinking about and evaluating progress that’s been useful to me in a wide variety of domains. It’s an exercise I run through when I’m feeling stuck, which almost always provides some nugget of actionable insight. It should take about three minutes to skim, and about thirty if you’re actually engaging actively.

Choose a skill. It could be dancing, or Haskell, or public speaking, or basket weaving, or backflips, or conflict resolution, or fiction writing, or emotional regulation, or impressing potential romantic partners, or whatever, so long as it’s a skill you’re either working on or expecting to work on at some point in the near future.

If you actually engaged with this exercise, I’d be curious to hear what happened, and what it was like for you.

If you intended to engage with it, but bounced off, I’d be interested in hearing your best guess as to why.