How to Avoid The ILLUSION of Progress…

~ Your mindset guarantees your success or failure in all you do ~ Andy Shaw


Your life?

Are you sure you are not just going around in circles?

Is the possibility that you could be… Too much to consider?


On today’s step of the journey through your mind we’re going to reveal an illusion that is keeping you from making progress… And ANYTHING that holds us back, has to be understood then managed, or dropped…

Because life is hard enough without carrying baggage that we don’t need!

For a long time I wondered how people could make no progress and seem to not be concerned or rather not be concerned enough to make progress.

I knew people wanted progress so why couldn’t they achieve it?

I was fascinated by what was holding them back. I had no idea where I’d find the answer but then one day I found it, on Facebook of all places.

I was scrolling through my ‘wall’ and there was quote after quote on it. For example have you read any of these wonderful quotes:


They really are wonderful quotes aren’t they?

  • “Be the change you want to see in the world” ~ Ghandi
  • “Dream big and dare to fail.” ~ Norman Vaughan
  • “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill
  • “Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.” ~ Charles Kettering
  • “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” ~ George Addair
  • “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ~ Karen Lamb

Anyway… I saw quote after quote come up on my wall and there were hundreds of comments and shares for each image with a quote on it.

I noticed friends commenting or sharing these quotes on their timeline.

Then I noticed that someone had shared a quote that they weren’t living to but they professed to be. I thought they may just be trying to make out they were more than they were and dismissed it.

But then I noticed more and more comments and shares from people who were not living to these quotes, but… they genuinely thought they were!

So I begun to wonder what was going through their mind when they read a quote that was obviously correct.

It turns out it’s this:

You read a quote which is obviously correct, for example:



You read that and inside your mind, you say, “Yes it is…” Or something similar…

Basically you agree with it… You feel good… Your ego says yes, well done for doing it and making progress… It may even tell you to reward yourself as you’re on the journey and you are making progress…

But it’s just an illusion of progress…

The reality is, you’ve not moved on and are actually stuck but you feel you are moving forward…

This is an amazing illusion which keeps hundreds of millions of people trapped. Maybe you too?

The truth is you may be on the journey, but the whole truth is you’re still sitting at the station and have no ticket.



So what’s happening?

Your ego loves quotes, loves books and loves anything you do that gives you the illusion of progress.

But a reality of no progress…

Now I took that particular quote above from Abraham Hicks and the comment from one of the people on my Wall.

The person is on the journey, but hasn’t moved one day forward other than education in the four years I’ve known them!

I chat with them and they say how much progress they are making. But they’re not. Their ego has them totally fooled, by the illusion of progress.

This is almost exactly the same as people who study book after book and make no progress…

Test it yourself, read one of the quotes above and feel what’s going on inside your mind…

You’ll FEEL like you’ve made progress as soon as you’ve read it!

I suggest you try it to every quote UNTIL you get the feeling, though you should have it on the first quote.

The secret is awareness of the problem. Because without that we have nothing, and virtually nil chance.

So if you want real progress and not more of the same illusion of progress, then you must develop awareness by practising.


By doing this you are altering your brains neural pathways, and you are in effect putting a sign post in your mind which says… ‘Next time you come this way, don’t turn left, turn right.’

Now here’s the simple thought structure I use to stop myself falling into the trap of thinking I’m making progress when I’m not…

I read the quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world” and I have now a sign post in my mind (thanks to practising) which instantly makes me stop and consider it…

Instantly and without thought (as that’s the by-product of enough practice – in other words I changed my habit) I ask myself, “Am I being the change I want to see in the world?”

I’m not looking for a yes or no to come out straight away. If one does then I question if that’s real or if it’s my ego answering for me to continue the illusion. Your ego will like answering yes… So avoid that trap back to the same illusion.

What I’m looking for is to just consider the quote.

What happens is that I’ve pulled the cover back on the potential illusion and can now allow the wisdom of the quote to take effect. And overtime and contemplation maybe allow the knowledge from the quote to transmute into the wisdom of a way of life.

This is how you change from being someone who can talk the talk, to someone who can walk the talk. Because impressing others has a short term benefit, changing how you think, which changes how you live has a massive long term benefit.

As I think about a quote, I may begin thinking, “I am being the change, but is there more I could easily do? … Yes there is, you could do this as well. If I do that then will I enjoy my life more as a result… Well it will take you on a different path. Is that the path I should go on…”

And it goes on… Just me considering it and thinking, am I living to it?…

This thought structure makes me actually consider the wisdom of this wonderful quote and what I am doing with my life. This is changing my thinking in the process, and my world is changing as a result.


Because of this simple thought structure I am making continuous, tiny, never ending course corrections in exactly the same way as a pilot makes continuous, tiny, course corrections when flying a plane.

What happens is that as you consider options without looking for decisions… Then the right way will find itself, and as I mentioned you’ll alter the neural-pathways in your mind.

Can you feel how this is not only easy, but that it obviously will work to change your thinking?

Today I’d like you to test it out and see what you think.

Consider those quotes again, one at a time… And this time run the simple thought structure, ‘Am I living my life to this?’

But before you begin, remember this…

If you’re not, then your ego will want to chastise you and tell you that you’re bad! A loser! Or whatever… These statements are not true! Because before this moment no one had taught you how to think this way to extract the wisdom…

So AS your ego attempts to have a go at you, then turn it around with this…


1) Why should I be annoyed with myself? I am delighted with myself for discovering this, as now I can make progress! And… Give me a break as I’ve only just learnt this!

That should silence the little beastie…

As you go about your day, just keep considering those quotes or some of your favourites… You are just looking remember, no need to draw any conclusions unless some self-evident stuff comes up and if it does, well that handles itself.

Let me know below if it does or doesn’t and I’ll help.

There’s no need to read or listen to 5 to 10 minutes of A Bug Free Mind today unless you want to as you’ve done a lot here by just doing this…

That is unless you want to. (Click here to download the free sections now if you don’t have them)

Enjoy the day and now that we’ve raised your awareness to these quotes…

Lastly, be very careful what messages you read today as you’ll be manifesting some interesting insights…

Best wishes,



P.S. Please tell me if you are enjoying these articles, and most importantly… If they are helping you find a little space between the thoughts…



38 thoughts on “How to Avoid The ILLUSION of Progress…

  1. Jodi says:

    Thank you!

    1. Reet says:

      Thank you once again for all your insights Andy.

      1. Andy Shaw says:


  2. Kathy says:

    These articles have given me so many lightbulb moments. I’ve been searching for answers for a long time and the way that you explain things is really speaking to me. Thank you so much!

  3. Gail says:

    I think it is clicking, and yes I enjoy your emails. Thank you for giving us the downloads, I bought your books last year and I ruined book one 3/4 the way into it

  4. Erika says:

    P.S. Please tell me if you are enjoying these articles, and most importantly… If they are helping you find a little space between the thoughts…

    Yes, in comparison to before I have tons more space in between my thoughts. Words can’t express how badly I needed it too. Your email intro came at just the right time. Thank you

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hey Andy, Thank you for sending this information! I was reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the messages really make sense to me. Any time someone told me to “fake it till I make it” I felt…frustrated. But at the same time, after doing what you suggest: reading a quote and asking myself if I’m living it…if I’m not, I felt really awful. What you said helps me understand ego vs values and I really appreciate the info. Thank you! Namaste

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Yes that one always used to grate with me too. I am actually still pondering on it and have been for years and not yet really taken it apart properly, though as with all things I ponder they usually end up revealing some real wisdom after time. So I look forward to seeing the psychology that falls out from that one when it chooses to do so.

      Best wishes,


  6. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for these techniques! I have been practicing and applying them to my everyday life. In this short time, I have felt a tremendous shift. I know this is working for me!
    Just to let you know Andy, you are on my long list of things to be thankful for!

    Kim Riordan

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Kim,

      Brilliant, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear, thank you. And thank you for adding me to your list 🙂

      Best wishes,


  7. radimir says:

    This opening my mind and i can to see clearly.Andy is crack teacher.Books Creating Bug Free Mind,i just finished( i bougth last year)is truly the best from all i already read. I reading over 25 years self help books. I think that is even better that Bible. Sincerely Radimir

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Thank you Radimir most appreciated, my intention was not to be better than other training material, just be more effective in helping people to get what they wanted. To do this I took from all over the place, Jesus, Muhammed, Krishna, Buddah, Lao Tzu, and many others. I just made a lot of what they said ‘more applicable’. As you know this can sometimes be done with re-arranging a sentence, and other times could take a few pages to explain.

      Best wishes,


  8. Don says:

    Loving the articles and the whole concept. Much appreciated. Until today’s article on the illusion of progress I didn’t consider myself much of a structured thought user but your reference to “putting a signpost in your mind” triggered a memory. For most of my life I’ve been a major procrastinator and a few years back when I was hopelessly behind in school, work, and life, I put up a signpost that said (WHY NOT NOW?) and every time I used the words “do” and “later”in the same sentence the signpost would pop up. If I couldn’t honestly come up with a legitimate reason I made myself do it then. At first it was done with a resigned resentment but as I started freeing up more and more time I actually started to look forward to it. I am certainly looking forward to similar success with the new habits you are introducing me to. Thanks…..Don

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Don,

      This is exactly how structured thinking is supposed to work. You notice an area you wish to change. You place a sign post there to suggest an alternative route. When life sends you in that direction again you notice the sign post and it prevents you going the wrong way, and you are grateful that your sign post is there.

      The small low level of resentment you experienced that is normal too. This is the annoyance of your ego that it can no longer use this previously very effective way of stopping you make progress 🙂

      You did very well to fix the procrastination issue how you did, this is a real show stopper for most. What you may not know is that there is also a good side to procrastination too, and when you learn to use that it can progress your life faster than keeping going through all procrastination. I can’t remember if I put this in the Footstep course that comes out next month, though it is definitely in part one of the process.

      Best wishes,


  9. Anita says:

    Yes! I love fact I collect them and I believed I was having a-ha moments when I found one that resonated with me – though after reading this article, the vast majority of these quotes were making my EGO do the happy dance and not really benefiting me at all. I say this because I would get giddy for a minute but over the years have not fundamentally changed and progressed, if anything, things have gotten steadily worse for me.

    So thank you Andy, I have never heard anyone talk about this before.

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Anita,

      How I found it was thanks to watching a friend post them on Facebook and make a small statement like, ‘too right’ or something, but I also knew she wasn’t living to them. So it intrigued me and I started to watch the pattern, and our egos are very clever at delivering the small does of euphoria and thereby fooling us into thinking progress has been made.

      I like progress and I do not like seeing friends being fooled by their own mind into thinking they are making progress when they are not. Because of how things work it is difficult to help friends without risking the friendship. But I can help those who don’t know me 🙂

      Best wishes,


  10. Mary says:

    I’m amaze with this article. It really help me find myself to reality. This kind of article really gave me so much knowledge on how i be able to overcome my fears in life. I have had a lot of questions about everything and with your site I am thankful with your big help to me.

  11. Claudia says:

    Andy, I enjoy all your work! It has helped me think differently. You are correct I have been reading and getting involved in a positive lifestyle as of two years ago, but this is the best work out there for me. I would love to be a part of your team and spread it out to the Hispanic population because those countries are taught not to trust anyone. If I can join you I too can make a difference one mind at a time……what a great legacy to leave this planet with!

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for your kind offer. Right now we are not ready to convert the work into other languages, but we are getting much closer to that than we were. I expect us to be actively looking at this in about June 2016. If you want to contact my colleague Tim on his email address tim(at) (change to the @ symbol), then he may be able to help with more details than I can now.

      Best wishes,


  12. Bruce says:

    Life does seem to be a process of seeking…more money…better relationships…a reason for existing…improved health….
    But…what is there about this moment, right now, that is not perfection ? (It is hopefully not your thoughts ?!)

  13. Catherine says:

    Wow! Andy, you always hit the nail on the head!!

    One thing I would like to point out: The Abraham Hicks quote is not quite the same as the other quotes. It is true no matter what you think or feel about it. “The life I live is created by the story I tell.” This is a sort of “It is what you say it is” quote. I see people do this ALL the time. They keep telling the stories of their lives: “My father was an alcoholic.” “My wife died of cancer.” “My teenager is a drug addict.” So they ARE the poor person whose life is defined by these stories, they ARE “Poor Me.”

    1. Katrina says:

      They don’t realize the power they have to counter that .. Yet, until they realize this is not serving them.

  14. Virginia says:

    Illusion of progress – I know that one too well ! I like the suggestion of WHY NOT NOW mentioned above to slow the habit of procrastination. Quotes are meant to be thought-provoking and you detail that concept so well in this article Andy. Am I living it? Such a good question to probe more deeply into your thoughts and actions.

  15. Ervin says:

    Andy, that was a great article. You are helping and your are changing people. SO AM I.

  16. Kevin says:

    WOW! This certainly explains why after a couple of years in self improvement I maintain I have made progress yet the same scenarios keep coming up…my “nutter” is quite a con artist. 🙂 I thank you for your “plain English” approach . I have made it through Chapter three of BFM and am still struggling with feelings. I have locked away my feelings for so long it is hard to recall good ones I have had and trying to create feelings I have never experienced, such as abundance, which are always part of the Law of Attraction exercises. How do you feel something you have no frame of reference for? I am anticipating a nuts and bolts approach to this dilemma upcoming. In the meantime I will practice what you suggest above and see if the doorways open. I do feel happier after doing the exercises in your book. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Kevin,

      A lot of people are taught to lock away their feelings, and this is because those who taught them couldn’t teach them a way of understanding and handling them. Those dark ages are passing soon if I have anything to do with it.

      What you are doing is opening up your mind like it once was before you were trained to keep it shut. It is not going to be always a smooth ride, as you have spent years forcing your mind to do things that are against it’s nature. Your mind can recover and can grow exponentially… It just needs a little at a time and don’t rush it.

      As for never having felt abundance before, you have, you just didn’t recognise it because you were probably very young when it stopped being there. To get a frame of reference for it, think about small examples of abundance in your life right now. You have an abundance of air to breath. Water to drink. Now your ego won’t like me giving you those as examples as it will try and ridicule them.

      However, they are examples of some abundance in your life. Learn to appreciate their abundance and consider them for a while and you are training your mind to see abundance. Look for other examples, if you live in the desert there is an abundance of sand. If you live near the sea there is an abundance of water. If you think about abundance then you will be opening your mind to thinking abundantly.

      Small steps lead to big steps. If you try and see an abundance of money when you are flat broke it is almost impossible for all but a tiny few… So don’t go about it the hard way, take the easy route… That’s as long as you can get past your ego telling you it’s a waste of time and won’t work 🙂

      Practice the techniques I share and you should see more happiness, and various other good things start to happen.

      Best wishes,


  17. Arshad, Pakisatn says:

    Good article…. stop illusion and making progress should be a motive of mind…

  18. Kim says:

    Hi. I don’t agree with the fundamentals of this assertion. I think that many are inspired by those quotes but most of the people I know wouldn’t claim to have achieved those ideals, just want to remind themselves. I know I fall into this category.

    I measure my own progress. Enlisting coaches & professionals to hold me accountable is valuable. When you’re saying a person has been fooled & has made no progress, how are you qualifying that?

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Hi Kim,

      There is nothing wrong with feeling good from those quotes. What’s wrong is considering that they are helping you make actual progress from your current position. If they are helping you to maintain your current position as there are not enough normal good things, then better to have a crutch than no crutch. However, they will not work at helping most people move forward, and they will fool most people into thinking they are moving forward. Just spend 10 minutes on facebook. Find a few people who put the quotes up and decide to follow them properly. Watch them for 3 years and you’ll see there is no progress and most of the time they bounce from one problem to another.

      As for being held accountable, I am still considering the benefit of this sort of thing. Personally I think it has massive benefit in an area of life that a person is struggling to make progress. But in areas of life a person enjoys they need no accountability coach, so I am still pondering this problem as I have been for at least 10 years.

      As for how I am qualifying the no progress, I watch people, a lot of people. I also study economic statistics, and other statistics, and I watch the number of people attempting to become rich among other things like relationships, divorce rates, affairs, dysfunctional relationships. I watch all sorts of things and there are trends in numbers which demonstrate how only a few really achieve all they want from a particular activity.

      I used to watch people to find out why I was different to them. Then one day I discovered that only 1% of people would succeed in business and become rich. This made me angry as I wondered why everyone was trying and not just going and enjoying life somewhere on a beach. As I didn’t think I would succeed, I knew I would. In fact at the time of discovering this I was already in the top richest one million people on earth.

      So I had to find out why I knew I could succeed, and why they were trying to succeed but doubting that they would. This was what led me to discover the structured thinking I used without thought, and the same structured thinking that other successful people use without thought too.

      I then saw that everyone else had chaotic thought going on in the area of their life they wanted to succeed in. Whereas a successful person who hadn’t yet succeeded didn’t have chaotic thought going on, they were just sorting it out. When I watched those people they succeeded. When I watched the people with chaotic thoughts they failed to succeed even when dead certain successes were put in front of them.

      This fascinated me and still does. Though now what fascinates me on it, is finding a way to show the people who have this chaos going on, that they have it going on… As being so close to it, and being in an environment that is filled with it, well it’s like a deep see fish that never comes out of the deep, it doesn’t even know it’s in the sea. So finding new ways of pointing this out to those that are trapped by it, that they are is one of the main things I am going to do with the rest of my life. This is because my mission is to change the world one mind at a time.

      Best wishes,


  19. Don says:

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for the reply and positive feedback. You are an inspiration !

    Best wishes,

  20. Katrina says:

    Thank you for the actual brain dialogue. Sometimes it’s hard to practically work through the thoughts and this article helped. I have read a ton of books now and then I found yours. It has incorporated all other teachings into one and cut away all the long winded explanations. I love it and I love the quiz you created. This is where people should start and maybe end haha saves a lot of time and energy :p

  21. Pam Furno says:

    yes, the programs help immensely. Thank you doesn’t seem to be elaborate how these help!

  22. Tami says:

    Hi Andy. This information was once again very helpful in three ways for me:

    *Recognizing our resistance to be honest with ourselves…
    *Becoming better aware of our ego at work and….
    *Going beyond feeling good about a quote to actually contemplating if we are striving to live it out.

    Thank you Andy

    1. Andy Shaw says:


  23. Rashad Wilson says:

    After reading this article is definitely has me wondering the possibilities of my life. I have been doing a better job at recognizing when my ego is attempting to hold me back, and i am very please and grateful for the growth so far. I know there is still a lot of learning to live, but I am excited for the journey, and I appreciate your help Andy. After reading the quotes the second time around, I realized that my ego actually was attempting to make it seem as if I was getting simewhere, but because I can see and overstand now, I can progress and make the changes necessary to live the abundant, successful life i truly deserve.

  24. Thomas Knutsen says:

    Very good information!!:)

  25. cosmas says:

    Andy, you have created a platform for people to actualy re-orietate their lives. Thank you , keep the flag flying.

    1. Andy Shaw says:

      Thank you – that is the plan 🙂

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