“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
-Thomas Jefferson (Maybe)
I don’t know if Mr. Jefferson really came up with this quote, but whoever did hit the nail right on the head.
It’s common sense, really. You can’t expect the Universe to deliver your dreams on a silver platter — you’ve got to put in the work.
This is a simple concept and one we’ve been taught from an early age. ‘Take out the trash if you want your allowance’. This lesson will carry us through to adulthood, where the chores become a bit more demanding, and nobody is paying us to take out the trash. But the concept is there: nothing in life is free. You can’t get something for nothing.
Life is scary. Putting ourselves out there for the world to see makes us vulnerable; that’s scary too. But you have to walk through the scary before you can get to the great.
You want to act? Sitting on the couch, binge-watching Friends reruns won’t get you there. You have to learn some lines. Audition. Over and over again, with no guarantee that you’ll ever get cast.
You want to be the next Carrie Underwood? Sending hours singing YouTube karaoke alone in your living room isn’t going to get you discovered.
Want to write the next best-seller? Well, although reading is wonderful as a learning tool, you’re eventually going to have to pick up a pen.
You will need to get uncomfortable. You will need to get vulnerable. You will be critiqued, judged, mocked, questioned. You will want to give up — wondering what could have possibly ever made you think you could do this thing.
How many auditions has your favourite actor gone on before he landed his first role? How many horrible songs were demoed before someone signed your favourite band? And how many manuscripts were rejected before your favourite author got her first book deal?
It comes down to two very important questions you need to ask yourself. And nobody can answer them for you:
- How badly do you want it?
- What are you willing to do to get it?
When you stop and really think about it, is it just something that you like the idea of, in theory? Or is it something you really want so badly you can practically taste it?
Is consistency key?
I hear it all the time, but as I wrote the words here myself, I had to stop. Is consistency really key? Let’s look at it a little more closely.
The Meriam-Webster definition of consistent: “marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity; free from variation or contradiction.”
Free from variation or contradiction.
Is that just me, or does that sound a hell of a lot like ‘do the same thing over and over again in the same exact way.’ And isn’t that technically part of the definition of insanity, in not so many words?
I think we need to look at a different word. What about growth
Growth in our efforts. Only putting forth the same ‘consistent’ level of effort won’t get us results, it will get us stagnation. Growth = results.
Growth in our knowledge. Never, ever stop learning. Knowledge is truly the key to success, but only if you allow yourself to open up to the possibility that there’s always more to learn.
Growth in our mindset. Being stubborn can sometimes be a good thing, to a certain degree, but it can also hinder us. It can use us to get stuck where we are, because, without an open, fluid mindset, there’s no room for growth at all.
Grown in our humility. We need to accept that many have come before us. Accept that we may not always be right; being wrong isn’t failure unless we cannot accept it, admit it, or grow from it.
Being wrong is just another wonderful opportunity for growth. Another opportunity to learn.
Growth. Effort. Knowledge. Mindset. Humility.
Now, if we go back and look at ‘consistency’ again, and put it all together, we’ll find a better solution.
The Imperfect-Edie definition: To consistently grow your level of effort, knowledge, open-mindedness, and humility.
Consistent Growth Is Key
There is no change without growth. There is no success without change.
This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll win an Oscar, have a platinum record, or become the next Mark Twain. But as long as you never stop growing and learning, and you go through life with an open mind and an open heart, you’re guaranteed to become the best version of yourself. And after all, isn’t that the ultimate level of success?
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