Consistency is the dumbest way to succeed in history.
And that’s a good thing for us normies. Consistency has been a big part of my supposed “dumb luck.”
But way too many people focus on talent and skills.
They overeducate or read books to procrastinate. As a result, their life goals are left on the floor to rot like a dead horse carcass.
Once you’re an adult and no longer living at home with mommy, you should be smart enough to understand poor consistency ruins your life more than a lack of talent.
Lack of talent is an excuse. Consistency has no excuses.
There’s no cure for a lack of talent.
So it serves as a sexy excuse to do nothing and delay goals until the never-ending future. Consistency doesn’t have any excuses.
“Did you do it today? Yes or no.”
There’s no other response. I faced this recently while running a writing challenge. Students had to write for 28 days straight and publish one sentence online. I even provided templates to ensure there was no excuse.
Most got it done.
A small few made excuses such as “what if I’m not an expert” or “I’m not sure if I’m ready” or “perhaps I need to study my topic more.” Nope.
Consistency reveals the truth. It destroys the lies we tell ourselves to avoid doing things we fear.
Jobs have in-built consistency. It’s personal goals we suck at the most.
The source of obsession for talent comes from the school system.
We start by thinking access to information and its memorization equals talent. Then we get a job where talent is worshipped more than Jesus. “Experience” is the hymn song we chant.
What I realized is success at a job has nothing to do with talent. There’s a secret force at play that nobody talks about: consistency.
With a job, you have to show up. If you don’t you don’t get paid. Do that for long enough and your ass gets fired real fast. So the magic of consistency is built into a job which is why many of us succeed in our careers long-term.
When it comes to personal goals, though, it’s easier for things to get shady.
A personal goal like writing online requires discipline. There’s normally only you versus the computer screen.
Nobody forces you to show up. If you don’t show up there are no consequences. And you can easily cover your inconsistent tracks with various clever excuses.
The trouble is consistency with our personal goals accounts for much of our success in life. And it’s often our personal goals that can help us escape jobs we hate, reach freedom, or maybe work for ourselves one day.
Why consistency is bloody hard
American author Hal Elrod opened by eyeballs wide with this quote:
“Repetition can be boring or tedious, which is why so few people ever master anything.”
It’s not that consistency is hard. It’s just that it’s easy to get bored or feel like you’re making zero progress and give up. Anyone can show up and write daily for 28 days. (I’ve shown up daily and written for 8 years.)
I read the other day on social media that stoic author Ryan Holiday doesn’t have a login to his ConvertKit email software, because he doesn’t want to see the numbers. They’re a distraction. Why?
Ryan says he plans on being consistent at writing about stoicism for the next 40 years. So he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about short-term numbers.
Consistency is easy when you make 5+ year goals.
The tasks you have to do in that timeframe will get tedious and eventually boring. That’s the whole point.
Introducing novelty once in a while is an easy way to break up the highs with the lows and midpoints.
Where it’s damn easy to go wrong
Too many mistake consistency for intensity.
They’ll put plenty of effort in for short bursts during convenient times like holidays. Then they’ll forget about their goal for a while. The inconsistency ruins any insights that consistency would have created.
Because consistency produces patterns, and patterns can be analyzed for breakthroughs that lead to the next level of growth.
Intermittency undoes what consistency builds. — Shane Parrish
Consistency is where the real money is made
One of the issues is we try to be consistent with goals we don’t actually love enough to do them.
That’s why it’s a bad idea to have a side hustle or hobby you don’t love.
You simply won’t do it because you’re trying for the wrong reasons. When you’re consistent at goals you love the consistency eventually makes you good. When you get good that’s when you can make real money from it.
Consistency is not knowing the path but having the faith you’ll find it
A barrier to consistency is uncertainty.
We want to know where being consistent will take us before we get started. Life doesn’t work like that in reality.
Consistency answers all the questions through execution.
When you take action it becomes obvious what works and what doesn’t. What I found is along the way you’ll meet all sorts of random people. These strangers will hand out puzzle pieces to the overall jigsaw attached to your goal.
I met one random Aussie in my writing journey. He taught me all sorts of lessons I couldn’t google.
Once I had the consistency skill down pat, he began opening doors for me and saying “This is Tim, he writes a weekly newsletter.”
Consistency is the path. There’s no other way.
The math around consistency shows a surprising insight
I am terrible at math. But this equation below taught me why consistency and the powers it creates — leverage, compounding, exponentiality — is so powerful to anyone who does it.
The first line is doing what a lot of people do: nothing.
The second line is what happens when you’re consistent and you get 1% better each day for a year. The difference is 37.7% difference.
Now you know why seemingly average people can go on to achieve enormous results. They’re not talented or smart. They’re consistent so over time they get 1% better at their goal.
In one year they get 37.7% better — and every year after that the number multiples. Suddenly the flywheel effect gives them enormous momentum.
Their goal goes from being a tennis ball covered in snow rolling down a mountain in the alps, to a giant snowball that crushes everything and everyone in its path and takes the world by surprise.
The next level of consistency that will leave you speechless
Consistency is level one.
Obsession is level two.
I’d be wasting your time if I told you to use consistency and stop there. The next level is obsession.
It’s to take an activity and become so obsessed that it’s all you think about. It’s to spend every spare minute or hour you have practicing it in public.
Consistency + Obsession = Top 1% in the world
That’s the secret I’ve learned from studying 1000s of high performers over the last 8 years to unlock how they became successful.
We only become obsessed with an activity, though, when we’re consistent enough with it to realize we love it or to notice how it positively changes how we feel after we do it.
Too many people try something once or twice and then give up. Obsession, too, is found after monotonous practice and exploration.
What this all means for you
Stop worrying about talent.
None of us are born with special talent — that’s a myth. Talent is the byproduct of being consistent with a goal for long enough to see the results and extract some measurable insights.
If you don’t know what to do, find an activity you like and make it a daily habit. Then build a system around the habit & apply 5 year+ patience to it.
Consistency can take your life to places you could never dream of.