The Compound Effect of Consistency

The Compound Effect of Consistency
Tick, tock: The battle rhythm of success

I bloody love Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament... there, I said it. In fact, I have a deep love of historical architecture, despite knowing diddly squat about it, I just know that its magnificence moves me.

On a trip to Paris a few years ago, where others may have been ensorcelled by the cuisine, fashion or culture, I was walking around, eyes up, marvelling at the bridges, cathedrals and monuments.

Anyhoo, I have not long finished watching a documentary about the renovation work recently completed on the Elizabeth Tower, the clock face, mechanism, and Big Ben (the bell) himself. Fascinating stuff and I loved it, but it got me thinking about time and the nature of clockwork relentlessness; and it was at this point my kids scrambled to avoid "yet another teachable moment"; so I'm writing it down. Lucky you!

Seriously though, this beautiful clock, like all others, divides our time into seconds, minutes and hours, and then by extension, helps us to delineate our days, weeks, months and years. If you check your calendar, you will see smaller increments of time allocated to meetings and appointments, with days highlighted for birthdays and anniversaries, and weeks put aside for holidays and such. But do you realise what all of these increments of time - however large or small - represent? The answer is progress. Whether in the measure of a millisecond or a millenia, time and progress marches on, and so do we.

One of our main units of time is a day: 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds, and a day is the exact same length for everyone; complete with a minimum of 86,400 opportunities to either optimise or start anew. So as a Life Coach, when my clients tell me "I didn't have time" to do the thing they'd said they do, we then have to reevaluate their stated priorities, because they did have time but they chose to spend it elsewhere. And that's entirely their perogative of course, just as long as they made a deliberate, mindful, conscious choice, otherwise it's my job to challenge and address any potential avoidance issues.

We know that a huge amount can be accomplished in a day, or in a surprisingly small collection of days. Let me give you a couple of mind-blowing examples:

  • The Eiffel Tower was built in 793 days (2.2 years)

  • Disneyland went from Walt Disney's imagination to reality in 366 days

  • The iPod was signed off in March 2001 and on sale by November (approx' 290 days)

The only way these feats of productivity were achieved so quickly was via the powerful compound effect of consistency; by marching to the drumbeat of relentless progress, like clockwork: one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one week, one month and one year at a time. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The battle rhythm of success. There's no way to achieve your goals other than to just keep working on them until they are accomplished. Talking about what you're going to achieve never achieved the thing, you have to do the work.

Sure, things may get frustrating, monotonous, thwarted, scary or maddening but try to see these temporary challenges as little tests, to establish and confirm just how much you want to succeed. Gamify the setback or challenge in your mind and regroup to master it, like you would if you'd e.g.: lost a set in tennis. You wouldn't throw the whole match because of one lost set, so don't throw your whole goal because of one setback. Regroup and focus on doing the next right thing, one step, one tennis ball at a time. If you do your best in every situation, it puts you in the best possible position in the next situation, and your successes will grow with the compound effect of consistency. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The battle rhythm of success.

Think of a goal you're already proud to have accomplished. This could be anything from losing weight and increasing your fitness, to reaching a savings target in the your bank account. Let's take these two examples of losing weight and saving money; you can apply the principles to your own personal examples as we go. Now, for you to have lost weight or saved money, you did that by taking one lb off, or putting one £ in at a time. Sure, you may have taken multiple lbs off, or put multiple £s in at a time, but you didn't wake up one morning, set the weight loss/financial goal in your mind, blinked and kaboom the goal was reached. No, it took deliberate, incremental, clockwork tick, clockwork tock, over and over again until you got there.

If you want something great, you have to be someone great, because wishing for things to be better and different never made it so. It took Michelangelo approximately three years (1501-1504) to chisel David, and approximately four years (1508-1512) to paint the Sistine Chapel; one dedicated mallet tap and one focused brush stroke at a time. The man's patience was surpassed only by his immense talent and devotion to his goal, and you too have been blessed with the necessary skills, wisdom, tenacity, resilience and intelligence to channel your attention and energy into anything you can imagine - but you need to believe in you. So tell me, what can you achieve in the next 3-4 years?

If you think you don't have time, ask yourself this: "I want X [e.g.: to binge watch Netflix], but do I want Y [your stated goal] more?" If the answer is yes, you do want to achieve your stated goal more than you want to binge watch Netflix, then you know what you must do, and then go and actually do it, because two essential components of consistency are discipline and commitment, i.e.: doing the thing you said you'd do, long after the initial enthusiasm of goal setting has passed.

And how do you actually manifest that? By doing the next right thing when it should be done, by following the consistent drumbeat of progress, as your milliseconds become days and your days become decades. Make like clockwork: tick, tock, steady, rhythmical, focused intent, which will naturally compound over time to become your progress and success. Consistency is everything. If you are persistent you will get it, and if you're consistent you will keep it.

Never balk at how long a goal will take to reach, because the time will pass anyway, but this way will give you a receipt for the time you have spent; you will have something worthwhile to show for your billion millisecond dedication, repeated with the relentless determination of the greatest of all time. GO DO!

Good luck, and until the next time, let's make shift happen!

Karan x