The Challenge of Consistency
I want to make this space more into an authentic space, so here’s me trying to put more of my thoughts into place.
I wish that there was a way to hack consistency, to make it so that a person could just automatically do the things that they wish to do without any fear and without any barriers to entry; if there were such a thing, I think that life would be so much easier – we’d be able to show up every single day without any fear and without any favor whatsoever, and things would just become infinitely simpler day in and day out.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really a short-cut to doing that, though – showing up on a day to day basis is a given, yes, but in order for a person to show up every single day to create things, they do need to have the willpower to show up every single day.
I’m not writing this to rationalize my not being consistent or anything of the sort – these aren’t justifications for a lack of consistency, but rather they are an acknowledgment of the actual difficulties that would face anyone who wants to try to become consistent; I list them below.
- To show up every single day, you need discipline and a process.
In order to show up every single day, it’s essential for you to have a schedule in order to make things happen in the correct way and at the correct time – if there isn’t a regularity to the things that you do or your whims just adjust you in some direction that puts you conveniently out of reach of the things that you want to do, you’ll slip away and from slipping away, you’ll immediately fall out of what you aimed to do in the first place.
- To show up every day, you need self-confidence.
Self-confidence isn’t the easiest thing in the world to develop – but it’s the most crucial thing to develop – the ability to just shrug off the slings and arrows of the world, to shrug off your own ego, to somehow be brave enough to have every single part of what you’re saying, thinking, and doing become a part of the record of the world.
In other words, there are a couple of subdivisions of self-confidence that we have to think about:
a) The ability to not receive any positive feedback or any sort of encouragement for what you’re doing, potentially over a very very long time.
As human beings, we naturally want our work to be acknowledged, and we derive a lot of pleasure and joy from the affirmation of others; our work doesn’t take place in a vacuum, and it’s only natural that we would want others to celebrate us in some way, shape, or form – but what if that doesn’t happen? What if we never receive the audience that we expect, and this happens for a very long time? This isn’t something that most people can naturally bear.
b) The ability to actually be good at what you’re trying to show up for.
The reality is that no matter what area it is that you try to be good in, you’ll need to have some degree of skill in order to show up pleasantly, to receive good feedback, to actually create something that’s great by industry standards or something else; it’s not something that happens by accident, and certainly not something that occurs when your fingers trip and fall and cascade into the process of creating a novel.
The reality of this world is that being good at something is not just about being consistent at doing things – it’s also about having a certain degree of talent.
Those of us who say that you need to only just show up day after day seem to miss the possibility that well, it’s possible that a person might actually just *not* be talented at some of the things that they enjoy or want to succeed at.
I mean, we want to deny that in many cases, but that’s possible, isn’t it?
It’s reality and you can’t fight that.
c) The ability to not self-criticize or drown yourself out with criticism to the point that you stop doing what you wish to do.
The thing about trying to become great at something is that often, a person’s self can stop them from pushing forward, for the simple reason that they might think that they’re not good enough (and they may not be!) to receive the world’s attention.
While it’s true that they may become better through practice, what happens is that their self-criticism drowns out any prospect that they had of becoming better by pushing them into a space where they think…
“Hey, because I’m not good enough at this, maybe I shouldn’t even try anymore… Right?”
Often times, we’re our most stringent critics, and our egoes stop us from putting out anything into the world that doesn’t meet our own exacting or demanding standards, which in turn makes it so that nothing happens, nothing changes, and we find ourselves left in the same position that we were in before.
Why did I write this in the first place?
I wrote this because I wanted to troubleshoot a part of my own personality and the way that I think about the world; I wrote it because I want to overcome this aspect of my personality that’s holding me back, and the answer isn’t clear – I wrote it because I want somehow or another to push past the most legendary difficulty that I’ve ever faced in this world and to make something that’s consistent and stands the test of the generations where what stands now is a record of repeated starts and stops that are a function of a nature that’s woefully ill-suited to that sort of consistency.
I wrote this because I want to grow as a person.