Top 4 Progress Killers

In this article, I will go over the top 4 traps that stall or kill progress. AKA the progress killers.

1. Overthinking

Now don’t get me wrong, having a plan is great. And depending on the scope and scale of the project, you may need some elaborate master-plan, eventually. But particularly in the case of getting started or battling procrastination, overthinking can dissuade you from ever getting started.

A popular technique to combat overthinking is one I’ve seen called the 5 second rule, popularized by Mel Robbins. The 5 second rule basically says that if you have an idea or something you’re interested in trying, you have 5 seconds to physically act on it before you start talking yourself out of it.

So if there’s something you want to try, and the risks aren’t too unreasonable, just start and see what happens! Unless you’re a serial limit pusher or adrenaline junkie, I think this is a good way for most of us to just go for things without hesitation.

2. Waiting for the perfect time

I imagine that you’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. There will never be a perfect time. 

The way I see it is this; don’t wait for the ‘perfect time’, instead just try to avoid the disaster scenarios. As long as you’re alive, able, and willing to do it, then it’s the right time. Where there’s a will there’s a way – but don’t push your luck.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese proverb

3. Detractors

The reality of it is, when we’re thinking about starting something new, most of us look for some sort of advice. We turn to family members, friends, or coworkers for their opinion. But understand that unless they have direct experience or knowledge about what we’re looking to pursue, there’s no guarantee their advice will be any good.

Moreover, the feedback may be outright misguided or uninformed. Don’t let someone saying, “don’t even bother.” Or, “sounds dumb.” stop you from trying. Most of the time they won’t say these things with malicious intent, they might just be trying to protect you. Try to understand their criticisms and concerns. Then just remember that not everyone is going to understand your idea or vision and that’s okay.

This reminds me of a story I heard. While studying at Yale, there was a young man who had an assignment for his economics class. He decided to outline his idea for an overnight delivery service in the computer information age. The idea was a centralized hub for shipping that would maximize for speed instead of efficiency. It was risky, but he thought it could revolutionize the delivery industry.

His professor gave him a C for his idea. He was given high marks for creativity, but was deducted points for ‘not being feasible’.

The man disagreed and decided to pursue his idea in the real world. 

After a difficult start, Frederick W. Smith is now worth over $5 billion as a result of creating one of the largest delivery companies in the world, FedEx.

Now, I’m sure there are even more stories about people who just continue to get rejected or where the story doesn’t work out in the end. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.

4. Too much bureaucracy 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African proverb

The final progress killer is too much bureaucratic red tape. Too many rules, entities to appease, and hours wasted. It’s always nice to have someone else with you. Someone to bounce ideas off of and learn with. But you can go more quickly and pivot on a whim if you’re alone. With every additional person there’s more complexity, more coordination required, and less flexibility. Especially in the early stages when you’re just testing things out and not overly committed, recognize the value that acting alone has.

Obviously working with others is incredibly valuable too. But the best results come from a combination of the two.

As you might have noticed, there’s a bit of a trend going on here. The majority of these killers can be combated simply by just starting. 

Don’t overthink it. Don’t wait for the stars to align. Don’t listen to the haters. And don’t tangled in the web of bureaucracy.

If there are things you want to do, get out there and do it! 

Failures are inevitable. Remind yourself that the faster you fail, the faster you can learn.

Just do it.

That’s all for now! If you enjoyed this article, please consider following, liking, or checking out my other articles at

15 thoughts on “Top 4 Progress Killers

  1. I love this article/summary. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts.

    I have been thinking a lot about the harmful effects of too much bureaucracy lately. I think that every human in every society would be far more prone to start ideas without such a great web of bureaucracy, most of which would fail, but some of which would add great value to the world. It would probably be good idea to progressively cut the demands for bureaucracy the smaller an organization/business is, and demand virtually nothing at the bottom – so that people get started. Today it seems it is almost the opposite. In many cases it seems smaller companies are low hanging fruit for regulators, whereas great corporations can always get away, and even if they are fined it doesn’t harm them – and to them fines can even be budgeted for. Such a system indirectly shields dinosaurs while it harms evolution.

    Maybe that kind of bureaucracy wasn’t exactly what you had in mind, but still.

    I actually think I’ll bookmark this post, which I very rarely do.

    Have a great day! / Oscar/Fomtriok


    1. Hey Oscar! You’re very welcome.

      Although that’s not quite the way I was describing it, I totally agree with you! It seems almost unfair when a company is so big that they barely feel the effects of penalties, but at the same time, they earned that position. It’s tough and I certainly don’t have all the answers. One thing that I I strongly believe in though is that the human race will continue to grow and progress as a result of continued innovation. We need people to start companies, have wild ideas, and push the limits. I hope that we can continue to grow the incentives or help reduce risk.

      I really appreciate your thoughtful comment and the kind words. Thank you.


  2. Since the future is uncertain, no plan can be perfect. It is good to give some thought to issues that could occur and how to mitigate those issues (Risk Management). You have to be ready and willing to update the plan, if necessary.


    1. Agreed. We don’t just wanna go into things blind. Do the best you can with the information available and recalibrate for each additional piece of information. 🙂


  3. Really nice piece Evan!

    There’s always a reason to not do things, maybe it is the easier option – But we usually see the rewards by overcoming these obstacles.

    Keep up the good work – Looking forward to reading your other articles 🙂


  4. Tips #1 and #2 are invaluable. I’ve lagged on projects just because I was waiting for the perfect time or idea to execute, only to realise that actually doing it, no matter how ready or not I feel, is the best way to move forward.

    You have a beautiful site and great articles. Thanks for sharing, Evan!


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