When it comes to success, consistency is key. One of the most toxic habits that we can ever cultivate is putting things off.
Rory Vaden once wrote, “Success is not owned, it is rented, and that rent is due every day.”
Procrastination coupled with momentum, as I have previously stated, is the worst trap of all. It triggers a vicious, downward cycle that gets harder and harder to escape from. Sooner or later, we lose our verve, our vitality, and our innate drive to accomplish things.
Choice, as Darren Hardy puts it, is at the center of all success and failure. It is what we choose that makes the biggest difference.
Keep in mind, it's not the big choices, but the ones you think don't matter or count for much, that eventually derail us. We don't consciously think about them but these small decisions can really bring about some big changes.
This is where the power of the compound effect, the operating system that runs our life, comes into play. For the unfamiliar, here’s the equation that holds great weight both in success and in life:
Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE
The compound effect works both ways. Small victories repeated consistently over time lead to remarkable results. And small slip-ups repeated consistently over time lead to massive blunders.
Business philosopher Jim Rohn explained this notion brilliantly in these words, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.”
One more important thing to understand is this: The transformation from success to failure doesn’t happen overnight. It happens gradually over time as the erroneous choices keep piling up. At the end of the day, it’s all about cause and effect. The more we deviate from our most essential disciplines, the bigger the hole we dig ourselves in.
As Jocko Willink explains in his book Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, “We are taken apart, slowly. Convinced to take an easier path. Enticed by comfort. Most of us aren’t defeated in one decisive battle. We are defeated one tiny, seemingly insignificant surrender at a time that chips away at who we should really be.”
He further adds, “It isn’t that you wake up one day and decide that’s it: I am going to be weak. No. It is a slow incremental process. It chips away at our will—it chips away at our discipline. We sleep in a little later. We miss a workout, then another. We start to eat what we shouldn’t eat and drink what we shouldn’t drink. And, without realizing it—one day, you wake up and you have become something that you never would have allowed. Instead of strong—you are weak. Instead of disciplined—you are disorganized and lost. Instead of moving forward and progressing—you are moving backward and decaying. And those things happen without you seeing them. Without you recognizing them.”
So we must practice vigilance every day. Inertia, Resistance, the Devil, whatever you call it, is lurking right around the corner in the shadows ready to pounce on you as soon as your eyes drift away from your goals and your most treasured aspirations, even if for a few moments.
Protect your daily rhythms and your disciplines at all costs. DEFEND all the small, seemingly insignificant actions — things that matter little today but that matter much in the long haul. After all, it’s not the elephants, but the tiny, pesky mosquitoes that actually bite and cause us harm!
The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.