Consistency is Key

I recently attended a seminar given by a very famous martial artist. During the seminar, the participants partnered up and worked on drills that he demonstrated. One of his most impressive skills was his ability to land every kick in the EXACT same spot, consistently. My partner and I, both black belts with multiple years of experience in martial arts, struggled to merely execute the techniques properly, let alone to be concerned with consistency. And yet, isn’t consistency the key to success or failure?
defines “consistent” as:
1. Agreeing or accordant; compatible; not self-contradictory
2. Constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc: a consistent opponent.
3. Holding firmly together; cohering.
4. Archaic. fixed; firm.
I really like the first definition, “not self-contradictory.” Consistency then means that if I am to be successful in martial arts, I must make a commitment to practice. If I fail to practice but still continue attending classes and seminars, then I become a phony. My teachers and I will know that I have failed to practice because my skills will wane. I will fail to be consistent and success will elude me. I will feel stress from the clash of my mental desire to be successful and my failure to practice.
However, if I spend time in practice, my skills will improve and my mental goals will be realized by my physical practice. My mind and body will become partners in seeking my goals and the stress from being contradictory will vanish. Once my mind and body merge, success will surely follow.
For example, when I reached a higher belt level in Tae Kwon Do, the practice time required to attain the next belt increased significantly. The bar was raised much higher from “intermediate” to “advanced” and I struggled during one of my tests. Although I passed, my teacher was disappointed and reiterated that I must understand the difficulty that was before me. I balked for a while and felt like quitting altogether, but I didn’t.
As in definition number four, I held firm. I became resolute in my decision to attain the goal of black belt and I eventually made it. It took three-and-one-half years to earn the belt, and earning it was the hardest task I have ever undertaken. Had I failed to practice consistently, I would have never made the rank of black belt.
However, will I ever achieve the level of success that will propel me to fame and fortune? I doubt it. As with anything, achieving a very high level of proficiency requires many, many years spent in practice and training. I will not achieve that level of technical success because I do not practice daily. I have chosen to move in a different direction and now consider my ultimate goal more of a “dream” that I may or may not realize. My mind and body agree and I am at peace with my decision.
Perhaps, though, you have a goal that is languishing that you have a deep desire to achieve. Do you want to lose weight, stop smoking, complete your degree, find a new job or spend more time with your kids? Consistency will help you realize that goal.