Some people say that hard work is the path to success. I contend that the hard work must be consistently and purposely applied over time. Any successful endeavor whether a business venture or health goal is achieved with that principle. It is essential to develop a system that supports the purposeful consistent application of effort. The Six P’s to Personal Growth can guide you in that journey. This post from Thomas Oppong can inspire you.
A large part of success is putting in the time each and every day. Consistency is important for making progress, doing better work, getting in shape, and achieving some level of success in most areas of life.
When you decide to be better than you were yesterday and maintain that attitude, you will reach peak performance. Benjamin Disraeli says “The secret of success is consistency of purpose.”
Warren Buffett, for instance, is famed for his discipline and the hours he spends studying financial statements of potential investment targets.
The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant — talent has little or nothing to do with greatness. You can make yourself into any number of things, and you can even make yourself great.
Don’t underestimate how much time and discipline contribute to your success. Consistent effort lies within the reach of anyone and is ultimately a much greater factor in success.
Anything to which you apply consistent focus will show progress.
Only sustained movement in one direction can bring tangible results. You have permission to change your goal, rethink, choose another, by all means.
Consistency develops routines and builds momentum. It forms habits that become almost second nature.
There is no way to get around the fact that mastery requires a volume of work.
No matter how grand your goals are, you will never taste victory if you are not ready to apply a high level of consistency.
Consistency trumps everything
To succeed in anything you put your mind to, build a system that makes it easy to stay consistent.
Jim Rohn said “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
Defining your direction as early as possible is the most important decision in sport, and everybody knows it. But, curiously enough, this is also the most important decision in life in general, but much fewer people realize it.
In order to get what you want, you have to choose one direction and move towards it, constantly improving over a prolonged period of time.
As Anders Ericsson, author of “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” notes, “Elite performers in many diverse domains have been found to practice, on the average, roughly the same amount every day, including weekends.”
More deliberate practice equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance.
John Maxwell said: “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”
In order to reach big goals you need time, during which you must continue moving in your chosen direction.
Be deliberate. Be consistent.
You can’t be consistent accidentally. It has to be a deliberate choice you make, every day. Deliberate consistency doesn’t feel good because it’s hard work and requires discipline.
It’s about knowing where you want to be, and creating habits, behaviours and actions that will support you in getting there.
Then doing or being them as often as you can, intentionally and deliberately. Over time your deliberate and intentional consistency will become natural consistency.
The shift from deliberate to natural is powerful and transformational.
Stop aiming for radical personal change!
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” — Stephen Covey
People always look for the easy way out. Many people practically look out for secrets, tricks, and hacks that will make EVERYTHING better right now. But unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.
There are no “overnight successes”. Think of all the incredible people you truly admire. They didn’t succeed because of one giant move, but rather a series of small and consistent actions over time.
A magic bullet cannot save you! You’ve got to embrace the process, enjoy it and stay consistent. You can’t escape the hard work it takes to get better.
Every incredibly successful person you know today has been through the boring, mundane, time-tested process that eventually brings success. So, stop looking for “quick hacks” that bring faster results.
Instead of reading every self-improvement post for the one golden tip that will make you superhumanly efficient, focus on doing the actual work that needs to be done.
You can inspire yourself to take action. The hard, long process is the only way though. You can’t achieve tremendous life success with a quick fix. Nobody gets it that easy.
Embrace the Kaizen approach
Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement.
It was developed by Depression-era American business management theorists in order to build the arsenal of democracy that helped the U.S. win World War II. The Japanese took to the idea of small, continual improvement right away and gave it a name: Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement.
While Kaizen was originally developed to help businesses improve and thrive, it’s just as applicable to our personal lives.
The idea here is to focus on consistent improvements in your life, every day, not matter how small the step you take to be a better you than you were yesterday.
According to Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness:
“Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want. Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.
It might not seem like much, but those 1% improvements start compounding on each other. In the beginning, your improvements will be so small as to seem practically nonexistent. But gradually and ever so slowly, you’ll start to notice the improvements in your life. It may take months or even years, but the improvements will come if you just focus on consistently upping your game by 1%.”
Here is why Kaizen works
“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.” — John Wooden
The Kaizen approach is a reminder that all improvements must be maintained if we wish to secure consistent gains. Think of the smallest step you can take every day that would move you incrementally towards your goal.
Becoming 1% better every day is a simple, practical way to achieve big goals. 1% seems like a small amount. Yes, it is. It’s tiny. It’s easy. It’s doable. And it’s applicable in most things you want to do or accomplish.
In his book, The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else, Daniel Coyle writes:
Spending more time is effective — but only if you’re still in the sweet spot at the edge of your capabilities, attentively building and honing circuits. What’s more, there seems to be a universal limit for how much deep practice human beings can do in a day. Ericsson’s research shows that most world-class experts — including pianists, chess players, novelists, and athletes — practice between three and five hours a day, no matter what skill they pursue.”
The 1% approach feels less intimidating and is more manageable. It might feel less exciting than chasing a huge win, but its results will be stronger and more sustainable.
Robert Collier once said “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Consistency and a series of purposeful actions will transform the way you work and hone in your chosen craft.
Be consistent. Be relentless.