Why 99% of Progress is an Illusion

Why 99% of Progress is an Illusion

In the world of information, technology, and science how can I say progress is an illusion? and what is true progress?

I consult in the vacation rental industry and have done so for the past 5 years. Specialising in operations and marketing.

The vacation rental industry is unexpectedly innovative when it comes to short-term property lettings (Airbnb, booking(dot)com, etc).

The amount of software companies popping up and offering new solutions for homeowners and property managers is staggering.

It really has become a niche for the world of tech start-ups to sink their teeth into.

Progress is an Illusion

Honestly it’s one of the most innovative and fastest developing industries I have ever seen.

The property managers are hungry for success. They have a mortal enemy – the hotel industry.

They band together like a global tribe of entrepreneurs. Each one looking for the next big thing to keep them at the edge of their game.

But really vacation rentals like many industries are not all that complicated. Yes, there is a lot to learn, but the information is easily accessible and the barrier to enter the market is relatively low.

If you’re resourceful, reasonably smart, and have the drive it could be an excellent profession for you to consider.

It’s a service that is dependent on the quality of delivery, feedback, and sustaining operations to a high standard.

A lot of industries fall under that description

In my position, I’m constantly exposed to the new techniques, strategies, and software available to make my life “easier” and the business “more productive”.

But do any of these new methods ever really help?

The truth is if there is a method that gives an advantage that is so obvious, what do you think will happen?

Progress is an illusion – The obvious will happen, it will catch on and become an industry standard. This is why I say progress is an illusion.

and so the game is played again, someone is looking for the next advantage that catches on to give them an edge before it becomes a standard in the industry.

The truth is if everyone is doing the same thing, nobody has an advantage.

That which was perceived as progress was only deemed as progress for 5 minutes until it became common practice.

So we are constantly playing this cat and mouse game of getting ahead for 5 minutes until we inevitably find ourselves in a position where we want to get ahead again.

It’s a circus.

This is the story of many industries, perhaps all industries.

We constantly see new information, technology, and science emerging to deal with problems we created or to make things more productive and efficient.

However, it’s very easy for me to see that the more productive we get the more we work. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

Do we really work better, for the sake of working more?

That seems rather silly, but yet this is what we call progress.

We create time-saving techniques through AI (Automation) and then what do we do with that extra time?

Well, we fill it up with more work.

For someone to think working more and using more is progress is a very funny notion.

I recently adopted the services of social media application (Tailwind). The idea is that Tailwind automated by posting to social media channels and saves me time.

In reality, I spend more time analyzing the statistics and configuring the automation as well as posting 10 times as much while getting fewer social media impressions as a result.

So is Tailwind an excellent example of innovation and progress in the industry? Yes, it is.

But did Tailwind make my life better? No, it certainly did not, it just changed my focus and I paid them for it.

In medicine, we see more therapies, cures, and better treatments than ever before. Just look how fast we produced vaccines for the Coronavirus.

But the thing is we’re creating solutions for many ailments that are a result of how we live. In other words, we’re creating solutions for problems that have no business existing in the first place and we call it progress.

Perhaps it is progress because it increases our understanding of how things work, but the fact is we can create an infinite amount of problems that don’t need to exist.

It truly is never-ending and with all our progress can we really say we are better off?

Let’s take a look at the economy

In my father’s time, my Dad was able to work a job, buy a house at a relatively young age and support a wife and 6 children.

For a man to do that today in Dublin, Ireland, he’d have to be either getting substantial help from the government or be significantly well off.

So we are making more money, but the standard of living comes at an exceedingly high price. Is this progress?

We make more money today but we can afford less?

Seems like another odd concept of what we call progress.

So what is true progress?

True progress is understanding what you value as a person and increasing your access to the fulfillment of those values on an everyday basis.

Do your actions allow you to do more of what makes you feel free, happy, and expressive?

or do your actions confine you to one space, to a repetitive set of actions, to a lack of expression and a lack of fulfillment?

Do your actions bring you to a place where you want to escape or do your actions bring you to a place where you don’t even need to question where you are because you know it’s where you are meant
to be.

Progress with information, technology, and science should not be measured in terms of what results they can get, but instead measured by how they serve your values and in a bigger sense the collective values of society as a whole.

When we find ourselves running from one new idea to the next, we are not progressing, we are being played and this is why 99% of progress is an Illusion.

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. – Quote from Albert Einstein in the May 2, 1955 issue of ā€œLIFEā€

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