The more I study and read about successful people, the more I see consistency as one of the major common threads that seem to appear again and again.
To illustrate, Iâ€™ve recently taken up jogging in the morning at the local park. Iâ€™m embarrassed to admit that itâ€™s been a long time since I jogged and because of that, I found myself out of breath early on. I would jog for 2-3 minutes, then walk for 2-3 minutes, and jog again.
What really struck me was that the people I passed by when I was jogging would then PASS ME when I stopped jogging and started walking. It was literally 30 seconds after I stopped jogging, that they would walk briskly right past me. I couldâ€™ve swore I left them choking on the dust I kicked from my feet a mile back, but they just swooped right by. What makes it even more humbling was the fact that they were a 50+ year old couple.
I looked at the pace they were walking and found it to be 1/2 a step quicker than mine.
I then got the strength and energy to jog again, so this time I ran harder and faster. I stopped a minute later as I gasped for air.
30 seconds later, they were in front of me again. Even though I was 100% sure I ran faster than before, here they were again, a 50 year old couple leaving me in the dust.
How did they beat me?
Instead of short spurts of fast growth, they stuck to a consistent pace and were easily able to surpass me and get to their destination faster than I could have ever done. They did it with less energy expended too. Amazing, isnâ€™t it? How does this translate into your life?
The goal you want to accomplish. Do you work on it every single day? Do you do at least one thing everyday to move toward the accomplishment of it? Or do you only do it once in a while, when you get motivated or inspired from an outside source?
The person who takes action every single day toward the attainment of their goal will always triumph over those who do it every once in a while.
No ifs ands or buts.
Hereâ€™s another example with a different twist.
Next time you visit a friendâ€™s house, or your uncleâ€™s house, or anywhere you might encounter babies, take some time and watch them closely. You may learn a thing or two from them. Babies you say? Ludicrous. Here I am, a grown adult with a fully developed brain and youâ€™re telling me I can learn something from a baby? Absolutely. Donâ€™t be too quick to judge.
Notice what a relatively young baby does when he/she reaches for his/her favorite toy. The baby is usually off balance and grasps at the empty area surrounding the toy. The first time, too far to the left. The second time, too far to the right. The third time, too high above the toy. The fourth time, too below the toy, etc.
But you know what? Each time the baby tries to grab the toy, he/she gets closer and closer until finally, the baby succeeds in grabbing the toy and joyfully screams in delight at the accomplishment of his/her mission. Taking consistent action provided the baby the necessary information to successfully grab the toy.
Fast forward 20 or so odd years to the adults living today. They have a dream or goal and when they first attempt to grab it, they reach too far to the left. Then they quit. They stop. They donâ€™t try to grab at it again. Ludicrous isnâ€™t it?
The last example Iâ€™ll use is Michael Jordan.
People look at the end result, the championships, the last clutch shots, the record breaking statistics and they conclude that Jordan has innate game or luck.
What they donâ€™t see is the toil and sweat that Michael Jordan pours into the game of basketball every single day. They donâ€™t see the thousands of shots he attempts every single day. They donâ€™t see him playing in the rain. They donâ€™t see him thinking of new moves to shake the opponent. They donâ€™t see him analyzing his own video footage to see how he can improve. They donâ€™t see how he strives to learn from other players. They donâ€™t see him seeking advice from fellow players and coaches. They donâ€™t see him running to condition his endurance. They donâ€™t see him mentally rehearsing the game in his head. They donâ€™t see him training to focus on the game itself, not on the crowd. They fail to realize the consistent training that Jordan took to become the legend he is today.
So why does consistency work?
Consistency works because it:
1. Induces failure in order to provide valuable feedback.
2. Creates momentum
Induces failure in order to provide valuable feedback.
Perhaps one of the reasons why people donâ€™t work everyday toward their goals is because they know failure will rear itsâ€™ ugly head. Don’t be scared of that. Be thankful! Failure provides valuable feedback.
Think back to the example of the baby. He/she failed on the first attempt. The baby then used that to do the opposite. He/she failed on that attempt as well. But in time, the baby took all the failures that were experienced, processed them in the brain, and used the feedback information that was provided to ultimately grab the toy.
Without that information, the baby wouldâ€™ve just stared at the toy, wishing he/she could grab it. Does that picture sound familiar? People stare at the dreams and goals in front of them and so desperately want to grab it. Little do they know all they have to do is take consistent action everyday and be thankful for the feedback failure provides them.
When you take consistent action every single day, your brain absorbs a wealth of information and ideas that can help you keep going. Taking consistent action creates momentum to get to your goal even faster.
Lance Armstrongâ€™s sole focus was to win the Tour De France. He took consistent action each day. Not only did he spend hours riding in every kind of weather imaginable, but he also spent hours at the lab, studying how he can maximize the use of his body to help him bike faster, whether it be tilting his head at a certain angle, or learning at what point to pedal furiously for maximum acceleration, or how to breathe for maximum oxygen intake, etc. all in order to maximize the chances of him winning. Consistent action builds on itself and he began to hone the improvements little by little, ultimately gaining a huge advantage over his competitors.
Consistent action and focus on a particular goal on a daily basis will yield the inevitable attainment of it. Period.
Letâ€™s end with Jordan shall we?
â€śI’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan