As human beings we have an innate yearning to experience, or at a minimum, sense, progress. Whether that be in the effect one has upon ones immediate social network, or, in those more broadly successful, upon a more expansive group of earth populators.
Those that have a smaller scope of expectations, want from their lives, to have their closest of loved ones experience an impact, be that an immediately measurable, which may be a generational quality of life improvement. This might be, for example, a career custodial services worker raising a successful doctor. It also could be a simple progress measured by the growth of a surrounding community, better local laws by influencing local government regarding waste management, or, as simple an aim as affecting a local school district to continue music education.
For those with a more expansive influence upon the world, there are broader accomplishments that may be desired. A president may wish to improve the entire political direction of a country, with an ultimate aim of better foreign policy practices, ultimately leading to increased prosperity within the county that the president is leading. A spiritual leader way strive to redirect a mass constituencies perceptions on a human trait previously considered undesirable. An artist may paint in a way that her, or his, art affects humanity in a way that causes increased reflection, introspection, or perhaps, invigorates an artistic expression renaissance. An environmentally inclined activist may have broad goals that show an overall reduction in pollutant emissions from factories. A computer proficient progress seeker may see functional AI as the next step for humanity.
Still others affect the progress of the world without the intention of accomplishment. These people create an item or service that makes their daily lives easier, through the more efficient execution of a task, and once that ingenuity becomes broader knowledge, it becomes a human norm. Others generate ideas from pure greed, without the intention that their contribution should better humanity, but rather better themselves. And the even more rare, work tirelessly to solve a problem that they feel will help only one, or few others, and never comes to a resolution; yet the manner by which they researched, or a discovery that was not intended towards their aim was found beneficial in another area, which ends up impacting a broad populous.
Despite our individual intentions as populators of this beautiful planet, our perceived progress is regrettably repetitive. On a small-scale, we continue to bank meager hopes in progress upon future generations. On a broad scale, we brazenly continue to attempt mass cultural change, only to find that each perceived change has diminishing impact, and for far less time. For those with no intention of change, the unintended effect may last longer, but still ends up recycled into the next wave of perceived progress.
Every policy that we believe we see changing, we celebrate. Every advance that we see further enhances our lives, we worship. Every thought that we sense remolds our perceptions, we adhere to. Any new spiritual dogma that readjusts a religious landscape, we absorb. To every broad mindset change in which we see minutely positive alteration, we acquiesce.
But we never, ever, look to the simplest, most direct and necessary place to affect our progress, inside, to change who we are.