Close the Door and Build the House


An idiom, roughly interpreted as, “to build a house behind closed doors.”

In other words, do the work before you show it to others.

I find that it’s easy to give yourself the illusion of progress and achievement. You can study for a quiz/test by doing familiar problems, you can passively work through that course or textbook, you can go through the motions at the gym — and at the end of it all, you won’t be any better off than you were before.

But we feel better off than before because we have something to show to the world.

Look! I went to the gym today! See here! I did the thing!

These are the stories we tell ourselves, but whether the effort has actually improved something in our life is up for debate.

Making progress takes more than just showing up. Progress is about being focused and intentional, making every minute of that practice count.

And the disappointing reality is that progress, oftentimes, is invisible. The change, whether positive or negative, is almost undetectable on a daily basis. Only by comparing our progress, stretches of time apart, do we begin to feel the results of our efforts.