How to be Consistent
The parts they don't tell you.20 Oct 2022
If you sail the seas of tech Twitter or LinkedIn you'll have likely noticed a trend lately: People can't seem to stop telling each other that consistency is the secret to whatever success is on the menu.
Despite this being an obvious idea, I still find myself feeling motivated by some of these posts. And it’s not news to me that doing something every day will result in progress. So what about it is motivating?
My best guess is that there's comfort in the simplicity of what consistency represents. It makes something potentially difficult and rife with unknowns into a prescriptive and manageable process. Just do the thing every day. Make the sacrifice and rewards will come.
Problem is, it doesn't matter how many times you read "consistency will get you everything", it won't make you more consistent. What makes you more consistent is two things: Conviction and discipline.
Conviction is just a strong – bordering on delusional – belief that something is worth the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. A good example is building a company.
Over the last few months I've been exploring the idea of building a company myself. Actually exploring a lot of different ideas hoping to find one that I can't not pursue.
I've worked with early stage startups and founders for years to get product companies off the ground, so I thought I was prepared for all the difficulties of starting one. But I never knew what the period was like pre-conviction. It takes serious energy to find what matters.
Conviction is the source of energy that drives the engine of consistency. Without deep belief that something is worth spending time on, it will be an uphill battle to do it with any form of consistency.
If you want to be consistent with something, discover what gives you strong conviction about it.
Discipline is the brute brother of conviction. While conviction wants to influence a behaviour, discipline forces it.
Conviction and discipline are both needed for consistency because humans are imperfect creatures. We might feel conviction to build a thing, but then sleep in late and miss an opportunity to get work done.
A personal anecdote comes to mind about cold showers. After learning about the positive effects for the mind and body from 11+ minutes of cold exposure each week, I developed a strong conviction for it. That means I have to take a cold shower for at least 1.5 minutes per day, and it's not something I want to do ever. I must rely on the brutal hand of discipline to force the behaviour.
The easiest way to use discipline is to force yourself to start something. Starting is always the hardest part. Once you've started, stopping will get harder and harder as you invest more effort.
Consistency is easy when you have conviction and are willing to force yourself to make a sacrifice. Then consistency will get you everything.
Thanks as always for reading – I appreciate all of you <3