We are all looking for a silver bullet when it comes to unlocking the secrets of success. Some people attribute their success to early mornings. Others pin it to being tougher negotiators. And they are not wrong, those are all elements of their success. The fundamental golden thread that needs to be weaved through every manifestation of success is quite simple, however: consistency.
There is a multitude of books that claim to have hidden secrets to success. There are hundreds of articles online like 4 Secrets of Insanely Successful People which quite honestly doesn’t give any bad advice.
Then there are TedTalks like this on success:
Which again; is not saying anything that is incorrect about manifesting success. But the thing that they all fail to highlight. The one thing that is fundamental to every single person’s success is the art of consistency. Repetition. Duplication.
The adage of practice makes perfect is a cliche for a reason. It is not just a way for coaches to earn an extra buck by making you run more hills. It is because the more you do something the better you will be at it. This happens to be true for everything; from riding a bike; to speaking a foreign language and every single thing in between.
Too often we place a lot of energy into something new and expect results immediately. Think of the last time you wanted to try a new diet. For the first week, I am willing to bet that you were disciplined and kicking ass! Fast forward another week and that flurry of activity was a distant memory.
The reason the diet failed was not that it was too hard. It was not because you needed that extra burger and fries; it was simply because we don’t practice being consistent.
And that’s an interesting thought: we need to practice being consistent.
Adding my 10 cents to consistency
I’ve recently heard a great piece of advice; which I think is quite closely linked to consistency. The advice was:
“Make sure that when you are making a decision; that you are making it with the intention of running towards something; not only to run away from something else.”
This crystalizes consistency for me.
Think about the diet example I gave earlier. By dropping the diet and reverting to old habits; we are not running towards something. We are only running away from the struggle of being on a diet. In this instance, the decision to be on the diet was more than likely initiated more from not wanting to be overweight, rather than from a deep desire to be fit and thin. This is a very different motivator and one that speaks so clearly to running towards or away from something.
The locus of control for consistency comes from running towards what you want; not from running away from what don’t.
So, are you running away because it is too hard; or are you running towards something better?! When you understand that — you will understand how to consistently guarantee success by placing your decisions in context.
Originally published at http://jonathanhouston.co.za on August 15, 2019.