Consistency contains powerful forces.
The more you do something, the more it becomes habit. And typically, you get better at it.
Consistency is a creature of habit that can breed surprisingly good results.
Recently I read a story about a university professor in Florida who – on the first day of class – divided his film photography students into two groups.
Those on one side of the classroom were placed in the ‘quantity’ group. They would be assessed only on the amount of work they produced. One hundred photos submitted would count as an A grade.
Students on the other side of the room got put into the ‘quality’ group. They would be marked solely on the excellence of their work. Only one photo would have to be submitted, with a near perfect image scoring an A.
At the end of term, it was time to see the results.
The professor was surprised to discover that all the best photographs had been taken by the QUANTITY group.
What appeared to have happened was this…
The students in the ‘quantity’ group had got busy taking photographs, incentivised to submit up to 100 pictures. In taking so many pictures, they experimented with lighting, exposure, composition and testing out various darkroom techniques.
Consistency in getting out and taking lots of photos was their friend.
In the process, they learned from their mistakes. So, gradually, photo by photo, they developed and refined their camera skills.
However, it was a different story for the ‘quality’ group.
The students sat around, speculating about and worrying about perfection. At the finish, they had very little to show for their efforts. Just a few untested theories and one average photo.
Who would have thought it?
That pursuit of perfection got that group of students stuck. The spent so much time conceptualising what that fantastic image could be that they forgot to get on with the part of creating it.
Done is Better Than Perfect
The benefits of consistency are not limited to taking photographs.
They apply in all walks of life.
A desire for perfection can inhibit action. Not drawing that painting in case it might not be good enough. Not entering a competition because you might not win. Not starting a family because you worry whether you’ll be a great parent or not.
It’s the same in business.
Waiting to find the right moment to go self-employed or set up a company. Exploring all the software options and not choosing one because you’re afraid of not picking the best one. Not writing that blog post because it may not be ‘just right’.
Perfection puts a handbrake on doing things.
Inaction gets you nowhere. Action – and consistency of action – is key.
This is certainly what I have found with my business and the growth to what it is today.
It’s why every week my audience will see my newsletter, a blog post and a summary.
It’s why they can listen to (or watch) my podcast, Virtually Amazing
four or five times a month.
It’s why I have written dozens of training manuals and guides about Microsoft Office applications for Bookboon.
It’s why, every year, I create or update online courses for professional assistants. Each one gets added to my ‘box set’, known as The Hub.
Consistency is the key.
It has helped me to get noticed, reach a wider audience and expand the range of services and products available for assistants who want to be superheroes for their clients.
Have you got into the habit of being consistent in what you do?