Something that I have consistently struggled with is consistency itself. I have never been questioned for my level of intensity, but I always seem to be hopping from one thing to the next. After significant reflection, I have largely solved a serious deficit of mine, and I would like to share what I have learned with you (this will also serve as a reminder for me to come back to).
1. The 10,000-Hour Rule: It takes about 10,000 hours to achieve expert-level skill (read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell for more information). Though this may be disheartening at first, I would like to remind you that you have a limited time on Earth. No one wants to be mediocre, so start now and work at your craft every day.
2. Move the Needle: I heard this watching a video by Casey Neistat. When asked how he stays motivated to keep working, he says, “The only thing between where I am and where I want to be is a bunch of work, so tackling that work is a way of moving the needle – that is the only motivation I need.” It is true; all it takes is work. It will be difficult and you may not want to do it, but work is the answer.
3. The Illusion of Choice: When I seem to be in a valley in one of my endeavors, I start looking to another venture for the next peak. The problem with thinking this way is that it will inevitably lead to another valley. When attempting to achieve any noble feat, it is necessary to recognize that there will always be difficulties and problems. If it were easy, everybody would do it – but we should not want to be like everybody. We should reach for greatness and glory; there will be obstacles on this path.
4. Take Aim: Seneca the Younger wrote, “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.” Remember to take the time each day to write down your goals and reflect on how you will achieve them. It is impossible to hit a target if a man does not know where he is aimed. It is not enough to have a dream – you must have a reason for it. The nobler the reason, the less likely you will be to quit.
5. Start Small, Practice Daily, and Stay Accountable: Consistency takes discipline. How is one to develop discipline? Start small and practice daily. Write down daily tasks you can achieve that correspond with your larger goals. Perhaps you have a goal to be healthier. If so, create a daily checklist to take your vitamins, do 100 pushups, workout every other day, meditate for 10 minutes, or go for a daily walk.
Finally, I should note that it takes a fundamental shift in thinking to have discipline. Become a workhorse. Never fail to work smarter, though. Ensure you are tracking your progress; the numbers will not lie. If you feel stuck, take a step back and recalibrate.
Onward and upward.
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