Sunday, August 10, 2008

Curious about Consistency: What Role Does It Play in Your Life? Do You Use It to Advantage?

Definition of Consistency: (1) Firmness of constitution or character; substantiality; durability; persistency. (2) Agreement or harmony of all parts of a complex thing among themselves, or of the same thing with itself at different times; the harmony of conduct with profession; congruity; correspondence; as, the consistency of laws, regulations, or judicial decisions; consistency of opinions; consistency of conduct or of character.

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” - Maya Angelou, American poet

I chose consistency for this week’s theme, because I found myself referring to it in several conversations.

As most of you know already, I teach eleven fitness classes a week. It always surprises me when a new student tells me how “frustrated” they are because they don’t see a marked change in their body after taking classes for the whole week. Yes, I realize that we are in a hurry up society today and everyone wants results immediately.

This is when I encourage them to add consistency to their workout schedule and assure them that if they keep at it, that they will start noticing the difference – and especially in how they feel. Unfortunately, many of those who start any program give up too soon and never enjoy the benefits from being consistent.

The second area is where consistency pays off is nutrition. I am a distributor for an incredible health product. I say, “incredible” because it not only tastes delicious, this drink when consumed in small amounts daily offers a plethora of benefits. It is loaded with antioxidants from 19 different fruits. I always urge purchasers to consistently drink it, keeping track of how their body is reacting.

I don’t know about you, but when I eat and drink with my consistent emphasis on health, I feel better, I look better, I sleep better, I think better and my days and life are better.

When I started hunting for quotations from the experts on consistency, I found a dichotomy of opinions:

The following feel that “consistency” is a good behavior:
  • In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry.” - Roger Staubach, American athlete
  • Consistency is very important when you're making films.” - Ian McDiarmid, Scottish actor
  • But change must always be balanced with some degree of consistency.” - Ron D. Burton, American businessman
  • My work is based on the assumption that clarity and consistency in our moral thinking is likely, in the long run, to lead us to hold better views on ethical issues.” - Peter Singer, Australian philosopher.
  • Good acting is consistency of performance.” - Jim Dale, British musician
  • Part of courage is simple consistency.” – Peggy Noonan, American writer

And, then there were those who put down consistency:

  • Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” - Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist
  • Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.” - Aldous Huxley, English novelist
  • The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency.” – Henry David Thoreau, American author
  • Consistency is the paste jewel that only cheap men cherish.” - William Allen White, American editor

One quotation that appealed to me and that I feel can apply to much more than baseball is, “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, American athlete

I feel that we lose sight of what we can gain with consistency of purpose. Remember, it is believed that it takes 21 days of consistency to make or break a habit. What do you think? How consistent are you? Let me know.