Life lessons on compound growth
Chad Bockius
231

Clarifying Consistency

I love the emphasis you place on consistency over time in this article, but I think the reality of compound growth may be a little more nuanced than you laid out.

I’m actually reading Ericsson’s book (Peak) right now, and he’s very careful to make distinctions between the common approach to practice and what he calls “purposeful practice” or “deliberate practice” (two different, but similar things).

The danger to skipping over this is that we risk encouraging people to simply be consistent. That may sound great, but if they are consistently doing the wrong things then they won’t ever realize the promised growth.

Ericsson actually calls this a myth:

“The second myth holds that if you do something for long enough, you’re bound to get better at it. Again, we know better. Doing the same thing over and over again in exactly the same way is not a recipe for improvement; it is a recipe for stagnation and gradual decline.” (p. 121)

Malcolm Gladwell is actually the person who popularized the 10,000 rule in Outliers. Ericsson is careful to refute this, noting that while it’s true a lot of hours over a long period of time are required for expert performance, it’s also vitally important that those hours are used in the right way. Namely, they should be devoted to deliberate practice.

I love how he sums up the deliberate practice mindset:

…Anyone can improve, but it requires the right approach. If you are not improving, it’s not because you lack innate talent; it’s because you’re not practicing the right way.

That’s encouraging to me, because it means all we have to do is determine “the right way”, and then we can help anyone improve. What an empowering thought!

Summary

Again, I love the emphasis of your article and thing you used a number of good illustrations to highlight how time and consistency are valuable.

I just think that if our desire is to truly help people grow, we need to be careful to also make sure we help them focus on those key factors that will really maximize the return on their investment over time.

P.s thanks for consistently putting out quality content. I genuinely appreciate your voice.