CONSISTENCY… Refusing to give up

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Starting something is one thing and seeing it to completion is another. In Kenya, for example, it is very easy to start a postgraduate programme, say a Masters. The zeal and determination at the beginning knows no bounds until you reach the project/ thesis phase and excuses and counter excuses on why you can’t complete the project become the norm. It is easy to find thousands of people who started their Masters or PhDs years ago but have not completed. What they lack is consistency.

Starting something is one thing and seeing it to completion is another. In Kenya, for example, it is very easy to start a postgraduate programme, say a Masters. The zeal and determination at the beginning knows no bounds until you reach the project/ thesis phase and excuses and counter excuses on why you can’t complete the project become the norm. It is easy to find thousands of people who started their Masters or PhDs years ago but have not completed. What they lack is consistency.

Consistency is the ability to stick with a plan to the end no matter the detours on the way. Many of us start the day with the best intentions: to eat healthy, to complete a task, to exercise and so on. However, the first shiny object that crosses our paths distracts us, ultimately throwing our plans in disarray. At the end of the day, none of what you had planned to achieve is accomplished and it becomes a vicious cycle – a never-ending struggle to achieve one’s goals. In one of the age-old Aesop’s fables, the Hare, after being beaten by Tortoise in a race reminds himself; “…slow and steady wins the race.” It goes without saying that consistency is essential for success.

With consistency, we are able to see our plans through leading to a more satisfying life. If you intend to be at a place at a certain time, be there; if you say you are going to do something, do it; if you start something, finish it. Consistency is saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It is matching one’s words with one’s actions.

We are alive to the fact that consistency is easy in theory and a lot more goes into it when it comes to application. However, with the following, one can achieve it.

Patience: As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait”, and with consistency, it holds water.  However, the world operates on the premise that if something isn’t working after a few weeks or months you need to let go. We need to borrow a leaf from our predecessors such as Thomas Edison, who through patience were able to make landmark discoveries. Patience is the key to consistency, and consistency the key to success. In the words of American comedian, the late Eddie Cantor, it takes 20 years to become an overnight success.

Belief: Lack of self-belief is an inhibitor to consistency. You have to believe in yourself and what you stand for so as to withstand detractors and naysayers.  If you do not believe in a particular cause, you will not have the conviction to see it through. Whatever you decide to do, ensure it is something that you are willing to go the extra mile because you believe in it. Tie your belief to the end goal (what you hope to achieve) to help you keep your eye on the prize even when situations don’t favour you. Believe in what you do, do it to your best ability, and do it consistently, and you will succeed in due time.

Discipline: Discipline affects virtually all aspects of our lives and we cannot achieve much without it. Discipline is the ability to wake up every morning and do what you set out to do. Discipline is holding on even when the going gets tough, and it will for nothing good comes easy. Often times, we have to push through the pain to access the promise. Discipline is focussing on a goal and holding onto it until it has been realised. Consistency requires discipline.

Consistency is a habit that needs to be cultivated and as Aristotle so aptly put it, we are what we repeatedly do. Consistency is not an act, but a habit. Practice it.

Seven ways to increase consistency

Make a commitment

Set up routines

Don’t allow excuses

Take advantage of your peak energy state

Do the challenging tasks first

Give yourself a timeline

Review your goals often

When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but are the people who have consistency in their motivation.

Arsene Wenger (1949), current Arsenal Football Club manager

I think I’ve earned a certain level of respect, based on my accomplishments and my consistency.

Curt Schilling (1966), former American Major League Baseball player

In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end.

Tom Seaver (1944), former Major League Baseball pitcher

There’s a certain consistency to who I am and what I do, and I think people have finally said, ‘Well, you know, I kinda get her now.’ I’ve actually had people say that to me.

Hillary Clinton (1947), American politician

I’ve learned from experience that if you work harder at it, and apply more energy and time to it, and more consistency, you get a better result. It comes from the work.

Louis C. K. (1967), American comedian, actor, writer, producer, director and editor

YOUR THOUGHTS

I am a businesswoman and when I was starting out, things were thick but I held on and consistently delivered to my client’s needs. Within no time, I had earned their trust and now I can only look back and say I am reaping the fruits of consistency.

Geraldine Achieng’, Entrepreneur

Published June 2015

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