When was the last time you achieved outstanding results the very first time you tried something? I don’t know that I ever have! I can think of more than a few times where I was very frustrated with an outcome after putting what I felt was an enormous amount of preparation leading up to it. While I’ve heard John say on more than one occasion, “You’ll never be good the first time you do anything,” I’ve never really wanted to accept that.
In chapter 5 of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, The Law of Consistency, John quotes Persian poet Saadi in saying, “Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”
While those two sayings do tie together a bit, let me paint a picture for you.
Nearly 20 years ago, I ran a stamping press on a daily basis. I was responsible for fabricating parts that supplied several other machines, which in turn supplied several assembly lines. The first several months I operated that press, I worked my butt off every day to barely meet the minimum expectation for the shift. I went home after each shift covered in grease and oil, completely exhausted. Every single day, I did everything I knew to do to get more efficient. Nothing seemed to help. If there was progress, I certainly didn’t realize it. After about 6 months of this, seemingly all at once, I left at the end of the shift without being wiped out. I wasn’t filthy, and I had somehow produced nearly twice as many parts as I had been in the first few weeks on the job.
I still can’t put a finger on any one thing that changed. Looking back at this, I have to believe this was an example of what John talks about in this chapter when he says, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”
But what if you don’t have the luxury of looking back at the situation to reflect on it? Just today, I had someone very close to me explain a situation they just went through. Their comment was “I felt like I learned more today than I have in the last month combined!” Then they continued, “but I realized that I only applied today what I had been learning day by day for the last several months!”
This was a situation where I’ve actually had the opportunity to watch them go through this process. I saw them work through some frustration in learning new things, and even get a bit down at times. The most exciting part was watching (or in this case hearing about) them experiencing a win. I think they would agree that the effort on the front end was worth the result…
What about you? What are you working on right now that seems to be going nowhere? Are you applying the Law of Consistency? If so, I have to believe that it’s only a matter of time until you have a success story to share! I look forward to hearing!
Talk with you soon,