Gradation is a noun. It means doing something in a series of successive changes, stages, or degrees and it’s a trap. 

Although it is true that Rome wasn’t built in a day or that the slow and steady horse ends up winning the race but gradation when it comes to things that matter is a horrible trap.

When we get to an epiphany in our life and realize that we’ve neglected a particular part of ourselves we should seek immediate change and run before walking, but often times we don’t. We go to the doctors office for our yearly physical, we step on a scale and learn that we’ve put on some weight. Enough weight that our health is at risk, yet for many people, they take gradual steps to change things and so the following year they are the same or have sunk a little bit deeper.

What they needed was a bold step. Not something gradual, but a leap into the unknown to do and be something they’ve never been or never done. Sometimes things in life require us to jump off a cliff, as scary and uncertain as that is.

But this isn’t a reckless jump. We feel anxious and uncertain and so we think that we’re in danger, but we have to weigh that against the thing that is keeping us down. We have to weight it against the thing we no longer want, be it a physical vice, an emotional one, or this or that particular circumstance.

We have to watch for the trap of gradation. We need to seek change at a slow and steady pace in order to achieve victory, but the decision to change, and our drive to change cannot be gradual, it has to be all or nothing.

All or nothing. That is how I wake up every morning. It’s not easy. There aren’t angels singing when I wake up in the dark, while the rest of my house is fast asleep. It’s not easy to get going, to drive for an hour, and to get to work. But I believe that gradation will not get me where I want to go and I won’t be the person who I want to be if I don’t make decisive leaps and purposeful actions.

What parts of your life have you neglected or need to change? Is it financial or emotional? Do you need to get your body in shape, or perhaps your mind? Perhaps you haven’t fed the mind in a very long time, and its time to read something meaningful and good. Is it a relationship that you’ve neglected? Or maybe work has become a monotonous assembly line of the same thing repeated over and over again.

When you identify the neglected parts of your life, and you should smile, because we all have many neglected parts in our life. When you have identified what you’ve been neglecting for a while, I hope you take bold steps and avoid the trap of gradation.

When it comes to morals and happiness, we need to be hot or cold. Even God hates the lukewarm, and he will spit them out. 

Make slow and steady progress as you reach for your dreams, but make fast and bold decisions, because anything else is only a trap.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer William Fitzzgibbon.