“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Have you ever seen a Fjord? If not, check out the below picture. Fjords are valleys that connect to the sea, and they were formed by glaciers cutting through the mountains on their way to the sea. Moving ever so slowly for thousands of years. What they leave in their track, after this consistent march to the sea, is one of the most beautiful sights to see on this earth.
It was after seeing the Fjords in Norway and reflecting on their formation that I began to connect the dots of the consistent effort into my own life. Anything beautiful in my life, much like the Fjord, was created only from consistent effort. Any strength developed, was through day in day out effort getting into the weight room. Any beautiful relationships were developed through consistent effort.
If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers then you know his claim that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become world class at something. One cannot will their way into doing 10,000 hours of something. That takes showing up day in and day out. You want to get smarter? Start with reading hour per day, that will bring you to one book per week. If you assume that each author has a decades worth of experience (at least) that they are packing into that book, then at the end of the year you will have 50 decades worth of knowledge at your disposal.
Consistency is one of the key points in Darren Hardy’s Compound Effect. Hardy has an eye for keeping the small things in order. “For most of us, it’s the frequent, small, and seemingly inconsequential choices that are of grave concern. I’m talking about the decisions you think don’t make any difference at all. It’s the little things that inevitably and predictably derail your success. Whether they’re bone-headed maneuvers, no biggie behaviors, these seemingly insignificant decisions can completely throw you off course because you’re not mindful of them.” This subject has been touched on previously in this blog when we discussed small moral compromises and how they snowball into larger compromises. How can small things add up to big things, but in a good way? One example from Hardy: by removing only 125 calories from your diet (and keeping it out) per day you would lose 33.5 pounds in 31 months! The other classic example is that a $4 cup of coffee per day will add up to $51,000 in 20 years.
That is the power of consistency. Anything beautiful in this world has come, and will come from consistent day over day effort.There is no hack. There is disciplined action that makes you consistent. Consistency is generous, give yourself that gift.