Human progress has only happened relatively recent though it was because of one realization. We learned to manipulate our surroundings. In our lives and in our practice it is evident that in order for us to progress we must be gratefull for what we have. All of our efforts culminate each moment, so you never know when you are ready for more, but you can make it more likely if you are grateful for everything you already have and are.
Surprises in our practice come like prime numbers... at first there are many in a row but then as you keep counting they are fewer and farther between.