This one is super interesting, as my friend Tanushi explained.
Actual growth may happen in the background even if the optics of it don’t prove that. Fitness is a common example for this – you have got to put in the hours for months before you see visual changes in your fitness level. Doesn’t mean that growth isn’t happening; it’s just happening in a way that isn’t the most visible. In other words, the optics of growth vs actual growth never usually track 1:1 together, with the optics lagging behind for a majority of the time.
Usually, the optics are what people would care about – getting that physique, cranking out that code, scoring that perfect top right corner goal – you get the idea. And the immediate absence of it is enough to deter people from putting in the homework needed to get to that level where there is a discernible difference in the optics as well.
But unfortunately reality is different – there are microsteps in actual growth that need to occur via your homework before any visible steps in optics can be seen.
A silver living in this is the notion that even if things aren’t visibly improving, as long as you’re executing the correct tasks, you can rest assured that growth is happening in those microsteps.