I have come to realize that our culture - or perhaps myself, at least - has become confused about the nature of things being hidden and revealed.
We have come to accept and believe that everything we do should noticed - and potentially rewarded - at all times. It is an outcome (perhaps a very logical one) of a technology that allows us to post anything and everything about ourselves at all times. No more is recognition reduced to the off chance of a photograph that appears in a newspaper or a five second blip on the evening news; now we can post - ourselves, without any intermediary or filter - everything that we are doing.
The unfortunate outcome of this is that it has bred the concept that everything we do is important enough to merit such attention.
Growth - as it has always been - happens not in the moments that are publicly on display but actually in the quiet parts of doing them. We grow in practice: the last set of twelve as we struggle to get the weight up and over the bar, the extra mile, the additional set of words that we review after we have already spent our study time. This is no glamorous or fame attracting effort - no-one has ever made a video of themselves studying for thirty minutes to wild acclaim.
And during these - or even between the practices - things are hidden. For example, the improvement of the physical body through exercise is slow and steady, and to somehow constantly being engineering ways to show off the progress is as crass as it is embarrassing - so it remains hidden beneath our work clothes. And the same is true with most other practices and projects in our lives: our progress is not visible even when the progress is being made.
This is hard - or at least this is hard for me - to accept. It strikes me as odd that it would be hard for me to accept - after all, I was around long before social media was - but then again I was also very good at learning, and quizzes and tests are yet another measure of progress. Yet time and time again my ego gets crushed when I feel like my "progress" is not being recognized. I have lost the realization that in fact, perhaps progress and growth should of themselves not be public.
We are always amazed at the individual who, seemingly coming out of nowhere, sweeps in and dazzles with their unknown talent and skill. Perhaps it is as much the sense that we can still be surprised by such things that thrills us as the raw talent displayed - more so perhaps, than the 5200 images we post about ever step of the way it took us to reach a far less taxing endpoint.
The takeaways for me:
1) Accept that this is the way of it.
2) Practice and grow in hiddenness.
3) When the moment comes - which it inevitably will - let the outcome be the thing that impresses, not all the work that it took to get there.