consistency – the quality of always behaving or performing in a similar way, or of always happening in a similar way
Consistency, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the twin-sister of durability, of discipline, of persistence, of grit. Their mother Conscientiousness and father Steadfastness did an awesome job. I’ll use them interchangeably here. Why am I writing about this? The reason is two-fold.
The first reason is that I had this subject written down in my subject list for this magnificent blog for a while now. I am convinced that consistency is a much better predictor of achieving what you want in life than intelligence is. Intelligence without a certain amount of action is, of course, useless. There always has to be some form of action to produce something. And of course, I’m not telling anything new here. I think we all know that guy who invented, among some other things, the quote: “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration”.
Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration ~ T. Edison
A great example is a girl I had in my class when I went to university (for the first time). She had two diploma’s already! She climbed up the education ladder to get to university. And with all due respect to her, but she wasn’t the smartest of the bunch. But the point of this article is that exactly that doesn’t matter! She worked her ass off and to be honest, she kicked mine!
The second, and most important, reason is the fact that I’m without inspiration the whole week already (although I have a huge subject list ready for use). And without inspiration, motivation lacks too. Without motivation, it is hard to be prolific. To be prolific, you have to be consistent. The circle is complete.
It sucks to be without inspiration! But it happens. And if you want to reach a certain goal, especially if they’re a bit bigger, you’ll have to deal with it. I think the magic trick is to search for a drop of consistency in your body somewhere in the very moment of shortage of inspiration and motivation, and just start, see where it goes. Or maybe the other way around, maybe you’re able to find a drop of inspiration to get on that consistency track again. Josh Waitzkin (author of The Art of Learning) once stated that “growth comes at the point of resistance“. This is such a point.
If you don’t feel like running, go run. If you don’t feel like practicing your violin, go practice. If you don’t feel like completing your assignment, go complete it. If you don’t feel like writing, go and write. Growth comes at the point of resistance.
SO!! Now comes the part where I share my timeless wisdom with the world, so that it can be a better place and flourish forever and eventually there will be world peace. So listen closely. I think there are two sorts of categories to keep your consistency. Let’s call them ‘fast carbs’ and ‘slow carbs’. Fast carbs are a quick fix, slow carbs are in there for the long run, just like with real carbs (what a coincidence). Here’s a short, non-exhaustive list
- Fast carbs
- Quotes. Quotes might be cheesy, or cliche. But oftentimes they come from very smart and/or cunning people who have some serious thinking power or a treasure full of experience. It’s the smallest summary of knowledge you can get.
- (Parts of) Speeches. See previous, only a bit less byte-sized.
- Excercise. Do 50 jumping jacks, or 20 push ups, or sit-ups. Whatever makes you happy! You’d be surprised how much difference 2 minutes can make.
- Music. This worked when I didn’t want to go out ten years ago and people wanted to persuade me. Maybe you can use it for something that’s actually useful… (Sports for example?)
- Just do the first 5 minutes.
- Slow carbs
- A goal. If you have a goal that really, REALLY, resonates with you. A goal you really believe in. One you want to achieve no matter what. (This one might not come as a surprise).
- Accountability. The good old “stick behind the door”, as we say in our precious Holland. The responsibility you have towards others serves as a propeller as well. Thanks Michel! And thank you too, thousands of potential readers!
- Pat on your back. Celebrate your wins. Reflect in the morning on the things you’re happy you did the day before. (CAVEAT: a hint of consistency is needed to be able to apply this, could evolve into a virtuous circle though)
I’m off for a run… Don’t feel like it at all though! Cheers!
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