Long term thinking
I have had acute pain in my right knee for several years, which has only been getting worse over time. I had mostly ignored it, or tried to compensate for it by using a spacer on the bottom of my right cycling shoe. Treatment had been put off for so long because I thought it was a minor issue, and I didn't want to spend money on fixing it. I had bigger things to worry about. I was focused on getting faster on my bike and stronger at the core barbell lifts. I wanted my money to go into investments, not some expensive treatment plan.
Last month I reached the point where I could no longer ignore the issue. It was starting to affect me mentally, and there was a growing concern that I would never be free of the pain. I had managed to convince myself that the cause was an unfixable leg length discrepancy. I never bothered to test this hypothesis, but it conveniently validated my decision to not get it looked at by someone more knowledgeable.
Finally I relented and had an assessment done by a physio. They identified that my woefully weak glutes and core meant I wasn't able to stabilise and control my movement properly. My other muscles were trying to compensate, but they would never be able to do this well enough.
A relentless focus on a single measurement had a significant cost over the long term. I was aware I had a problem, but I could not easily resolve it myself and I was not willing to invest the resources necessary to fix it. I underestimated the impact it would have on me in the long term.
I think the lessons I learnt from this experience can be applied generally:
Whilst having a single metric to measure progress is useful, focusing on it to the detriment of everything else is not optimal in the long term. Sometimes you have to do things that do not directly move the metric.
The longer you put off solving a problem, the more it costs to fix (financially or otherwise). Entropy tends to increase over time, and as systems become more complex it becomes harder to solve a particular problem.
Sometimes you cannot easily solve a problem on your own. You need a different viewpoint to spot the actual cause of the problem and therefore identify a solution. It is okay to ask for help