“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” -Ray Brabury
During my first 4.5 years of blogging, I wrote very poorly most of the time.
Like many amateur writers, I didn’t know what I was doing besides just publishing random content every once in a while. Still, I did write a handful of good articles that got a lot of views.
But after 54 months, I was sick of all the failure, frustration, and feeling like a loser. I looked at how many posts I’d published, and I was surprised to see that I’d only published about 160 articles — around 1 a week. That’s not a lot.
I changed tactics. I published 30 articles in 30 days — 7x more than my usual rate. Then I wrote another 20 articles the next month. After that second month, I had more views for my articles than the previous year combined.
A couple more months of that, I had more views than the previous 4.5 years combined — by a large margin.
The truth is, if you’re really trying, you can’t do something poorly 52 times in a row. Write a short story, shoot a basketball, do a cartwheel , record a podcast episode — if you do something 52 times in a row, you’re going to have a couple good ones.
The problem is, most people never get there. As former politician and speaker Les Brown once said:
“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to the open the door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.”
How many times have you knocked on the door of your dreams?
How many rejections did it take for you to quit?
For most people, not many. But when you keep knocking on that door, good things happen. But only if you keep knocking.
To Get What You Want, You Must Keep Knocking When Everyone Else Has Given Up
In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the Duke Orsino orders his servant Cesario to go to the door of his beloved, Olivia, and proclaim his love for her.
Uninterested, Olivia orders Cesario to go home. But Cesario refuses. In the words of her flabbergasted servant, Malvolio:
Madam, yond young fellow swears he will speak with
I told him you were sick; he takes on him to
understand so much, and therefore comes to speak
I told him you were asleep; he seems to
have a foreknowledge of that too, and therefore
comes to speak with you.
What is to be said to him,
lady? he’s fortified against any denial.
Talk about persistence! I wouldn’t fault Cesario — basically, a glorified mailman — for backing off when the master of an enormous mansion gives a big, fat GET LOST.
But to get something you’ve never had before — a new level of income, a new job title, a new relationship, a new body — usually involves pushing through discomfort and rejection. As Leonardo Decaprio once said:
“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.”
It’s time to become a different you — a more persistent, pushy you.
It’s time to become someone who will keep knocking on the door of your dream long after everyone around you has stopped knocking.
If you want to become that person — and if you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to say that’s true for you — you need to knock, and keep knocking. Be pushy. Stand up for yourself. Make the hard ask to the intimidating boss.
It’s hard, to be sure. Most people fold, give up, and stop trying.
But the only way to get what you want is to keep knocking until you get it.
Consistency Will Make You Feel Like a Loser
Doing something 52 times in a row is hard.
(Hell, doing something 10 times in a row is hard.)
You’re going to feel like a loser. All that repeated failure, the seemingly-ineffective effort, the constant rejection, over and over…it’s enough to crush most people. And most people get crushed and quit. There’s a reason why so many people are stuck in mediocrity.
But what if I told you that you needed to write 52 short stories before one of them got picked up by a publisher?
What if I told you it’d take 52 times at the gym before you really started to notice a difference?
What if I told you it’d take 52 sales calls to get your first big client?
Often, it takes far less than 52 times, that’s just an arbitrary number. But there’s no denying the truth — it’s going to take a lot of tries before it works. You’re going to have to knock on that door a lot.
Look — talented, attractive, “lucky” people are everywhere. Everywhere. They’re all over my feed, peppered all throughout my community and friend groups. They’re freaking amazing at this one thing, and it looks like they’re playing life on “easy” mode.
But rarely is any one of them a consistent person.
That is why eventually, they will fail.
And that is why you will succeed.
Consistent people are extremely rare. If you can learn to cultivate consistency in your work, you’ll eventually beat any talent, luck, skill, and even quality — just by being consistent.
Consistency will make you feel like a loser. All the time you’ll spend working, trying, failing, trying again, failing again, trying again and failing again will make you think you’re a loser.
You’ll feel like a nobody who sucks and isn’t good for anything and should just quit because you’ll never be good enough.
At least, that’s how I feel.
Personal Evolution = Making Slightly Better Choices Daily
“Greatness is nothing more than the long-term investment of time.” -Nicolas Cole
Most people think creating significant life change happens quickly.
But that’s not how it works. It took a long time for you to build up those negative behaviors and mindset; it’ll take some time to develop a new one.
The problem most people face is their impatience with waiting for results, even if small progress is being made. In their eyes, small progress isn’t big enough.
This black-and-white thinking is responsible for many people’s failed attempts to change. Since they can’t see any big results soon, they impatiently give up and revert back to who they were.
In the words of Niklas Göke:
“Tiny steps will take you much farther than infrequent home runs.”
The smallest improvements in even one area of your life has ripple effects.
Change creates momentum, always.
Positively changing one part of your life, even just a little bit, creates powerful momentum. The key is utilizing this momentum to leverage a little bit more change, every day.
My colleague David Kadavy once said:
“Every day, check these 4 boxes: Have I improved 1% on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health?”
The more you improve, the more you want to improve.
The more you learn, the more you discover what else you need to learn.
The smallest evolutions are addicting. There is great power in knowing you are a better version today than you were yesterday. Imagine what you’ll be tomorrow?
If you don’t know where to start, that’s fine. It doesn’t even matter where you start — only that you do.
In the words of Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, “Good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop. There is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment.”
I promise you — you can evolve into a better version of yourself by tomorrow.
It just starts with a little change in one area.
“When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set in motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist our cause. Serendipity reinforces our purpose.” -Steven Pressfield
The science of evolving into something better isn’t complicated. In the words of Jim Rohn, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
Darren Hardy echoed this sentiment: “Small, seemingly inconsistent steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.”
Personal evolution happens slowly. Often, it seems like nothing is happening at all.
But success is sneaky. It often comes all at once, and you suddenly realize you’re 10x the person you were just a few months ago.
“When money begins to come, it comes in such abundance that you wonder where it has been hiding all those lean years.” -Napoleon Hill