Perseverance. How many people wish this post didn’t start with that word?
Perseverance is a lot like eating your vegetables. It’s something we all know we need, but not necessarily something we all want to do.
Perseverance is a lot like patience. In fact, the two a opposite sides of the same coin. The coin is the coin of Success.
But you know, just as a having a single coin doesn’t make you a millionaire, so too, having a little perseverance and patience won’t make you successful. What you really need is a wealth of coins, amassed, and stored in the bank to be rich. Or a mass of perseverance and patience, day-in and day-out – your daily commitment to some goal (like Korean fluency) – that when viewed together becomes a fortune of Consistency and results in your Success.
Consider these two formulas:
A Goal + Action + Perseverance + Patience = Consistency
Consistency10 = Success
There is no such thing as an overnight success. Sure, it may seem like someone you know has suddenly become fitter, or smarter, or richer. Or you may watch the TV and see an interview with a newly crowned “King or Queen” of some industry. But the truth is, there is much blood, sweat, and tears that have gone in to their work behind the scenes and led to their Success. Years of it in fact.
The quote above has been attributed to Vince Lombardi, Mark Twain, and Vidal Sassoon so it’s unclear where it originated. But the clear point is, successful people understand that consistent hard work leads to success – and then they put this understanding into action by doing something about it.
Vince Lombardi was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s and led them to 5 championships in 7 years – including wins at the first 2 Super Bowls. He is considered one of the best and most successful coaches in the history of football and the Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor.
Mark Twain wrote the widely read Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (“the Great American Novel”) that most American high school students still read. He was called the “father of American literature” by William Faulkner and the “greatest American humorist of his age.”
Vidal Sassoon was born in London and is credited with creating the wedge bob hairstyle for women and he opened the first chain of worldwide hairstyling salons in 1965 – complete with a line of hair-styling products that became an international brand.
Who will Succeed?
Do you want to know who around you will succeed? Pay attention to the smallest changes in the lives of those around you. Small changes, when carried out consistently either take them on a long-lasting upward or downward spiral. The reason for this is because most people pay very little attention to the Small Details thinking instead that Massive Action is what leads to either Success or Failure.
But the opposite is actually true. While Massive Action can have a large impact on things, the impact will not last if the Action does not last. On the other hand, Small changes, details, and actions will have much longer-lasting and farther-reaching results than most people are even consciously aware of. Take this example of 3 friends from Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect (paraphrased from page 11-16):
Three friends live in the same neighborhood and are at around the same life stages (married, making $50,000/year, a little extra fat around the middle).
- Friend 1, Larry, changes nothing – and complains that nothing ever changes.
- Friend 2, Scott, starts reading 10 pages of a good book per day, listening to 30 minutes of instructional material on his way to work, cuts 125 calories per day from his diet, and starts taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Friend 3, Brad, buys a new big-screen TV to watch every night, starts trying out the delicious high-calorie recipes he sees on TV, and adds one more alcoholic drink per week to his diet.
After 5 months, there is no noticeable difference. The same after 1 year.
But around 2 years, we start seeing the differences, and by the third year, the gap between them is expansive! Brad is fat and Scott is trim. Brad is unhappy at home, at work, in his marriage, but Scott is chugging right along at top speed and things are going smoothly.
Larry? He’s pretty much exactly where he started – no better and no worse (except perhaps a little more disappointed and complaining because he sees the changes in Scott’s life).
Take a look at your Facebook friends
This is the way things always work. Just take a look at your Facebook friends.
- How many of your fit high school or university friends are now overweight and sporting a beer belly?
- How many of those you once thought socially awkward and ugly are now happily married with a great looking family?
- How many people exceeded the expectations of others and how many high achievers have become, sadly, average?
This is the power of Consistency – of Perseverance + Patience + Action + a Goal – multiplied many times over.
Don’t let life “just happen” to you.
The problem is that most people don’t clearly define their goals, they just allow life to happen to them. Most people just find something fun or wonderful or exciting or comfortable and start doing it habitually – not really concerning themselves with considering the future results of that new lifestyle.
If more people were conscious about small changes in their own lives, perhaps we could more clearly anticipate the outcomes of those changes, and even manipulate them and create new Habits to lead us toward the Goals, Outcomes, and Lives we truly desire.
But even when people ARE conscious of those small changes AND the future impact it may have on their lives, many of them fail to realize the LENGTH of time and Consistency required to make a lasting impact.
Remember our earlier example of Larry, Scott, and Brad? Changes are not immediately noticeable after 5 months, or even 1 year. It takes at least 2 years of Consistent practice for noticeable and lasting changes to start taking effect, and up to 3 years for those changes to make a significant difference!
The problem isn’t that just that people aren’t conscious of their choices, but that even when they are, they give up far too early. Most people, seeing no noticeable changes in their lives after adjusting their habits or lifestyle will give up long before even the 5-month mark!
Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions; Make New LIFE Resolutions
You don’t have to wait til the New Year to make New Life resolutions. Start anytime. I’m starting some new ones today. So what do you need?
- Consistent Action
- A sobering realization of the length of time you should expect to DO THIS before you can really SEE the difference
- And then, more Perseverance!
Next week, we’ll take a look at how sometimes you need to add a little extra fuel to your fire, to rev your engine, to “hustle” for a time in order to advance your goals. Yes, Consistency is King, but Hustle is the General of his army.