I tweeted earlier this month:

Frustrated by my limits all-round: cycling, bouldering, design/dev. Trying to break through to the other side. This is progress, growth.

As with anything I love doing, I struggle with plateaus. When you reach that point, it can be frustrating, hard and demoralizing to not see forward movement — the progress that demarcates “leveling up.”

For me, it’s a combination of discipline, practice and a stubborn commitment to forge ahead when these bottlenecks happen. Just by trying, trying again or by coming back to the problem over and over, can I finally push on through.

It’s first-time-you-ask-a-girl-out awkward or first-time-you-ride-a-bike clumsy, but I soldier on anyway and get a result. It may not be the cleanest line I take, but I get there in the end. Now I know how I can do it better the next time, breaking that block.

When a plateau rears its ugly head, ultimately I know I can chop it right off.

Note: Like this article. I wrote this five different ways, with varying iterations. At times, I considered scrapping and abandoning this article, but in the spirit of its content, I pushed through and ate my own dog food. I’m not sure I have the outcome I want, or if it’s even good, but this is the best version that resulted. Next time, then. Be smooth, be strong, be quiet.

This post first appeared in September 2013 on The Pastry Box Project.