The Progress Principle – The better way to achieve your PVP Goals (and all of your life goals as well)

We have all felt the sting of failure in EVE. The sting of a hard loss that makes you want to close game and never play again.

This feeling is especially common when people first start learning Solo PVP. Those first few losses hurt. How you react to those loses will determine how successful you will be in EVE.

If you get super ANGRY and blame your self, you are likely to never succeed.

If you get ANGRY and blame those horrible Gankers/Blobbers/EWAR/Whatever, you will likely never find a way to improve.

But if you can fight off the urge to get ANGRY and instead use it as a way to learn. You are destined for greatness.

This is similar to my articles in the past preaching the power of asking questions instead of giving up with statements.

Example: saying "How can I kill a Megathron with a Frigate?" instead of "It's impossible to kill a Megathron in a Frigate!"

The question opens a loop that you brain works to close with an answer, while the statement shuts down all future thought about the matter.

This new concept is similar but possibly even more powerful. This article is about something I refer to as the Progress Principle.

You can refine it down to two commonly used quotes/sayings:

  1. Progress NOT Perfection
  2. Perfection is the Enemy of the Good

The first is a common thing heard in AA to say any thing you do to move you toward sobriety is a good thing.  While the second is meant more to set you free from the paralysis of perfectionism.

The basic meaning of the Progress Principle is that:

  • Perfection is unattainable and an unreasonable goal.
  • Goals are a bad motivator.
  • Progress should be rewarded, not just success.

Let's look at an example of this...

Henry is 40 pounds over weight and wants to lose weight. He sets his goal to lose 40 pounds, gets excited that he's going to succeed, and then starts exercising and monitoring his diet. After a week he loses 4 pounds and feels great. But the next week he only loses one pound and feels like a failure so he buys him self a large pizza and tub of Ice Cream to make him self feel better. A few days he gets back on track and works extra hard to lose two pounds by the third week. A little disappointing but he keeps going until the fourth week when he see's he's somehow gained a pound despite not cheating and doing all the exercise he was supposed to! Discouraged he convinces himself he just can't do it and he quits.

The example above is very common and if you replace weight loss with Kills vs Losses, it's also very common in EVE Online.

The problem is that the Success Condition is 40 pounds of weight loss and when Henry encounters set backs and natural fluctuations he gets discouraged and see's the enormity of the task in front of him. At his rate 40 pounds will take forever in his mind.

But what if Henry rewarded him self for Progress instead of Success?

I don't mean reward as in go for a walk and earn a cake... That's not progress, that's illogical licensing.

What I mean is that if Henry goes for a walk he rewards himself by feeling successful. He is one more step closer to his goal. He has achieved something very important today and can feel good about himself for it.

From a PVP point of view the walk could be spending 15 minutes in EFT / Pyfa studying fits for ships you run into and trying to find the best way counter them. Or building a list of ship types you can beat and list that you can't. Or buying and fitting 10 T1 Frigates like prescribed in the Noob Mission so that you can get used to PVP quickly.

All of this is progress. Even losing is progress if you use it as a opportunity to learn by recording it with OBS like I teach here and studying your opponents kill board so you can see his fitting and then look for ways to defeat him next time.

The most important thiing is that you don't obsess about the final goal of 40 pounds or PVP Mastery. Progress NOT Perfection.

All you have to do to get everything you want in life is just make PROGRESS!

You are a river cutting it's way through mountains. One way or another you will reach the end. Just don't obsess about the end. Focus on today, what can you do today that will move you a little closer.

I recently read Arnold Schwarzenegger's Autobiography Total Recall which I really enjoyed. It portrays a highly driven goal oriented person who works his butt off to achieve everything from Business Success, Body Building, Acting, and Relationships. Ultimately he strays a bit, but the quotes that stuck with me the most were:

“From the bodybuilding days on, I learned that everything is reps and mileage. The more miles you ski, the better a skier you become; the more reps you do, the better your body.”
― Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

And another one I can't find that said basically... "I knew that I would be the bodybuilding champion of the world already, so going to the gym and working out for 6 hours a day wasn't difficult. I loved it because every thing brought me one step closer to being the best bodybuilding champion the world had ever seen!"

Most likely, you get the point by now... Don't fixate on the long term goal. It will come. Instead focus on today and reward your self for going on a roam, studying mechanics, watching PVP Guides, and anything else that moves you closer to your desired outcome.

One more thing... About the feeling of failure, that ANGER when you lose. Psychology has studied the effects of "Being Hard on yourself" and the people who are hard on themselves are less successful than those who forgive themselves and focus more on rewarding themselves (Feeling Happy) when they do something well.

Learning doesn't have to a game of pain where each mistake means you must beat your self down, accept that failure is progress too, and make the experience enjoyable by rewarding your self for progress. Get out there and do the reps!

Personally... I'm going to go start my self help YouTube Channel and start writing a book with all my awesome ideas. LOL

About the author

In 2010 Abbadon21 was the first person to create Narrated Instructional PVP videos for EVE Online. This started a new era of EVE Online and opened up high level "PRO" PVP to everyone. Abbadon21 is also the Founder of, which is EVE Online's oldest and most trusted source for high quality PRO Guides.