Be Progressive: Why You Should Always Want More

I recently received the following email from Jeff S., a LifeReboot reader:

Hi Shaun, I hope all is well today. I would like to start by saying I really enjoy reading your site, and I know some friends I have linked it to over the past year have found it as beneficial as I. The first article I read was about The Working Dead. I must say at first I saw it as nothing but a really funny article. It was funny as hell. I began to laugh out loud at certain points while sitting at my desk at work. After reading a few other posts, I began to really see the lessons and points of view you are trying to convey, and realized how important some of them are. After reading yesterday’s post I decided I would write you a quick thanks for helping me: Your writing has inspired me to drop any trends that are not progressive. I liked my job of 3 years but did not see it going anywhere, and I did not want to be the working dead. I spoke with my employer about what the next step could be, and now 8 weeks later I have completed certification courses and passed the CA life/health insurance agent licensing exam. I don’t want to write out my whole personal story as I’m sure you have heard a million more or less the same, I just wanted to let you know that your writing motivated me to move forward with my career and my life. Thanks, keep up the good work as I am sure there are countless others who have found meaning in your work. Good luck.

What I liked most about Jeff’s message was what he said about dropping trends that aren’t progressive.  It seemed profound to me because it’s a way to create positive change in your life that I had never given much thought to.

Drop trends that aren’t progressive.  Be progressive.

Don’t settle.  Always yearn for more.

Having taken the time to stop and think about it, I realize that it’s practically common sense.  Consequently, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t made more conscious attempts to be progressive at my new job.

What Jeff did was progressive:  In order to avoid settling at his job, he asked for more.  He approached his employer saying that he was prepared to advance.  As a result, he gained a specialization.  He obtained the corresponding certifications and license.

Put another way, he moved up.

The weird thing about it was that after he did it, he thanked me!  I understand that Jeff can say that I helped inspire him to do what he did — but really, he accomplished it on his own.  He made the choice to be progressive, live consciously, and learn something new.

I’m happy that he shared his triumph with me, because it’s helping me realize that I should be aiming to move up at my job also.  Granted, I’ve already been putting in more hours than are required — but I believe that showing up early and leaving late are actions that mostly go unnoticed.

What’s most interesting about the timing of Jeff’s message is that until recently, I’ve been working at an office each day answering phones.  This past week, however, I was invited to join the company’s “Install Team” to set up some new sites in New York.

This means that instead of babysitting a phone all day, I was working outside with my hands.  I was spending time with a different group of people, learning new things from them, and having a blast doing it.

By the end of the week I was exhausted, sunburned, and anxious to fly home again.  Strangely, as tired as I felt, it was a good kind of tired — because I felt like I was on vacation even though I was working.

When I came home and read Jeff’s email in my inbox, it was impeccable timing.  I say this because if I hadn’t received it, there is a good chance that I would have gone right back to my work routine.  I’d think to myself, “That was nice while it lasted,” and then obediently return to my spot next to the phone without a second thought.

I have the option to ask for more.  I have the choice to be progressive.  I can tell my employer that I want to be a permanent member of the Install Team.

Maybe the Install Team has enough members already.  Maybe someone else in the company has seniority over me for switching departments.  Maybe the Service Center can’t afford to lose me.

Or maybe I’m exactly what the Install Team has been looking for.

All I know is that I want more.  More importantly, I must tell my employer that I want more — how else would they find out that I want to be progressive?

Thanks Jeff.

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10 Responses to “Be Progressive: Why You Should Always Want More”

#1 Dereck Coatney on 02, Sep, 2008 at 6:42 pm

This really is a terrific attitude to have. I’m glad a reader of yours was able to convey his thanks to you in a way that not only helped you realize that what you have written has been helpful, but also in the special way of a feedback loop, motivating you to do what was motivated by you.

#2 Dora on 05, Sep, 2008 at 6:08 am

Well said Jeff and Shaun!

Similar to what someone has told me before: What you don’t ask, you don’t get.


#3 whiteknight on 06, Sep, 2008 at 11:29 am

aren’t you afraid that your employer will read your blog, and when u get your evaluation, he might let u go, i would not write that u are not too pleased , but glad that u liked your travel, do u get extra money for that, i would go for that too, if it is more interesting

#4 DanGTD on 07, Sep, 2008 at 8:38 am

You have to ask for more.
You will raise your expectations about yourself, and you will contribute more.

#5 Trey Anderson on 09, Sep, 2008 at 10:35 pm

One of the most important lessons I attempted to teach my Airmen when I was in the Air Force was: “If you are comfortable, you are not growing”.

If you are completely comfortable with what you do at work or in your life then you are not growing as a person. You are not learning. You are not taking that next step and moving on to that next level. *Insert growing cliche here*.

Excellent advice Shaun. Keep up the good work.

#6 Luis Gross on 18, Sep, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Great post!

This is a wonderful example!

I would love to see my friends and people I care about think like this.

Quite frankly, ever since a child, I’ve been the type to, “yearn for more” and “never settle for less”.

Everyone always tells me I’m just greedy. I should be content with what I have.

I always said why? Why does this make me greedy? I feel I can do better, why not go for it? Why does this make me greedy? WHY?

As I grew, I came to find people around me where just that: content.

As long as that $500 a week paycheck came in they were fine; they’ll pay bills, buy food, go shopping, then wait for their next check because they just spent all of last week’s.

They were OK with living that way, and felt anyone who yearned for more is simply way too ambitious and greedy. And ultimately, evil — I come from a poor neighborhood.

I just found your blog today, and this is the 3rd article I’ve read — I never stay that long on ANY blog.

Anyway, what you’re doing is great.

And whether you believe it or not, YOU deserved to be thanked.

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#8 Troy on 14, Nov, 2008 at 6:44 pm

I just read Luis’ reply. I have to say that I must agree with him. I too came from a poor upringing. My father taught me that if you work hard enough, giving 110%, you can accomplish anything.

Well, I’m now 36 and ejoying success as an IT Project Manager at a Hospital that is nationally recognized and rated in the Top Ten Hospitals in the United States.

Like Luis, there are friends and family back home that thing because I was ambitious and didn’t settle for a factory job or working on the farm, I am greedy and I would walk all over anyone if I could gain from it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Long live those who think progressively!

#9 Maryke on 19, Jun, 2009 at 4:56 am

Hi Shaun

What if your boss is your dad???

I am working for my dad but I am really an artist. I studied fine art and I am trying to start up my own studio at home doing pottery, glass and painting/drawing.
My parents are very emotionally abusive towards me and I don’t exactly have good self esteem.
I am married now and my husband hates my parents for what they do to me. I don’t even know how I survive working for my dad.
I really love your articles because it makes me realise truths thats already inside of me.
I have been “trying” to start up my studio for two years. I haven’t even had the guts to take any of my work to a gallery.
I visit this website almost every single day to try and inspire myself to believe in myself and to take chances and like this article stipulates – to want more and to not settle for a life that makes you feel like you just want to roll over and die!!! To want more does not always mean more money – It can mean more freedom, more love, your own space and less hate, manipulation and abuse. (But in this case you actually need money to have all of these things)


Maryke (South Africa)

#10 Daniel Pereira on 22, Jul, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Hi Shaun… that’s right! you should allways want more.. mainly for two reasons in my opinion.. first, the happinnes of a journey it’s on the journey itself, not on the end of it.. and second, you might never reach the top of what you want, even if they are high like the stars, but at least you’ll have given the maximum that you could give of yourself. I happened to take a look at your website, and damn.. you have some damn nice words in here, congratulations. I am going trough one more harsh time of my life.. and some of your articles might be of help! Why don’t you check the “about” page on my website to know a little more about me? You’ll get to know some of my reasons, and will get to understand why I left this message in here.. Goodbye.. you got yourself one more fan my friend!

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