The Timeless Success of Consistency

Can defining 10% of your time make you a success?

This is not easy, and if you were looking for something easy you’re encouraged to look elsewhere for such a something. If you’re anything like me then you’ve already looked for the easy way out, or up, or wherever it is success lies.

My search has discovered two variables to success; Time and Consistency. These two interrelated concepts will be discussed and your interpretation of that discussion will result in it’s relevance.

“Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.” Albert Einstein

I’m going to cut to the chase here — this piece is about doing little things every day in order to build your definition of success.

What’s important here is the definition and that it’s yours, which is one of the reasons why this is hard … people are aiming for success without knowing or understanding what it means. My journey has lead to the discovery of several definitions of success, most recent of which is the formulation of a temporal interpretation.

The quote is a perfect illustration of our two concepts at work. To compound something is to add to it, increasing it’s something. The observation of this in a linear sense would allow a timeline to appear and that something would grow exponentially with consistent addition.

The concept of time, in my opinion, is a dynamic one, although here it is necessary to think of it expressed as a 90 minute block. Approximately 10% of your day is equal to a little over 90 minutes.

Let’s do some simple maths. If you wake up at 7 a.m. and go to bed at 10 p.m., this means you’re awake for 15 hours/day; which is equivalent to 900 minutes. This is where the 10% is derived from and used here simply to create a form of reference.

Now that a contextual definition of time has been created we’re ready to focus on the concept of consistency. To construct this, however, we must first dabble into the conversation between both variables.

The inter-relatedness of time and consistency is somewhat obvious but still very important to understand. Let’s use Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hours to represent success. Now, this feels like a long time, and it is, but that’s just the end point. The variable which determines where that end point is, or more specifically, when we’ll reach it, is dependent on the consistency of our efforts.

If we are less consistent with our efforts the time it takes for us to achieve our success will expand. By the same token the time it takes to be consistent also dictates the discovery of our end point. In short, in order to find our success we must shorten what it is to be consistent allowing us to increase the time spent being consistent.

I recently read an article by Srinivas Rao titled: To Accelerate Your Success, Build A Keystone Habit. It talked about developing a Keystone Habit, which is related to a goal you want to accomplish in life. The examples stated were as follows:

  • If you’re an aspiring musician, your keystone habit could be putting in 10–15 minutes of practice a day on your instrument.
  • If you’re looking to make changes to your health and fitness, your keystone habit could be going for a short run every morning.
  • As a blogger and aspiring author, [Srinivas] knew writing daily would be a keystone habit that would pay off in spades.

In regards to our hypothetical goal of becoming successful and the 10,000 hours it takes to do so, our Keystone Habit is developed within that 90 minutes of time we’ve defined as our success.

If we consistently spend time each day working on our success it soon becomes very obvious that the 10% is actually relative and that what we think is 90 minutes could 900 and before we realize, we’ve become successful.

But wait… it hasn’t been 10,000 hours, has it? Well, perhaps that’s also relative? I mean, the use of it here has nothing to do with mastery (as originally intended) — or does it?

Whether you find success is not dependent on an extrinsic definition of it, but an intrinsic journey on which you explore and discover your own meaning.

The idea that a lack of consistency repels the end point further from you, also hints at the idea that more consistency attracts the end point. Therefore, spending 10% of your time defining your success could lead you right to it.

Perhaps the greatest gift that we can give to each other is a greater understanding of ourselves.