“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
There are so many people in the world that are so much more talented than you. They’re sexier, smarter, richer. More creative, more likable, more charming, better-connected and better-looking. But there is one singular thing you can do better than them: you can outwork them.
This sheer commitment to keep-going-no-matter-what beats your stronger opponent, every time. Prolific actor Will Smith was once asked how he got to be so successful in his career. He said: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: you’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”
Anybody can cultivate this discipline. Anybody. It’s the single most effective strategy to outperform the toughest competitors you’ll ever face. You just need to be consistent.
Benjamin Hardy once said: “Consistency is the most fundamental virtue to becoming the person you want to be.”
Consistency can make you feel like a loser
“Success comes through sustained effort. (The key word in that sentence is not ‘effort’. It’s ‘sustained’.)” – Todd Brison
If I told you that you needed to write 41 articles before one of them went viral, would you write that many? How about that you needed to go to the gym 41 times before you noticed any weight loss? Or 41 asks before you got your first client?
Most people wouldn’t do the work. Talented, attractive, lucky people are everywhere. Everywhere. They’re all over my feed, peppered all throughout my community and friend groups. They’re freaking amazing at this one thing. But rarely is any one of them a consistent person. That is why, eventually, they will fail. And that is why you will succeed.
Consistent people are extremely rare. If you can learn to cultivate consistency in your work, you’ll eventually beat any talent, luck, skill and even quality – just by being consistent. Consistency can make you feel like a loser. All the time you’ll spend working, trying, failing, trying again, failing again, trying again and failing again will make you think you’re a loser. You’ll feel like a nobody who sucks and isn’t good for anything and should just quit because you’ll never be good enough. At least, that’s how I feel. Being consistent is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to become. I’ve been blogging for five years now. For the first 4½ years, no one read my stuff. In 54 months, I’d accumulated a grand total of 79 subscribers.
I wasn’t consistent. I’d write and blog furiously for a few weeks, then lose motivation and disappear entirely. I wouldn’t write for, like, three to four months. Then, I’d get inspired and write another few posts. Then I’d lose interest and give in to boredom, and stop writing again. No wonder nobody ever read my stuff!
Four months ago, I finally decided to become consistent. I started publishing every single day, building trust with my readers and honing my craft. It’s no coincidence that in the past four months, I’ve gotten more traffic to my articles than the previous 4½ years combined. I’ve gained nearly 1000 more subscribers. My articles are read by thousands of people every day. I’ve made more money from my blog this week than I’ve made in the past four years combined.
This is the reward for being consistent. But consistency will make you feel like a loser, while you’re in it. Just remember, you have to shovel through 10,000 pounds of crap before you strike gold. Most people will never have the consistency to overcome the tedious repetition that long. There’s a ton of gold down there – are you willing to keep shovelling until you get there?
It’s OK if You Can Only Put In a Few Hours a Day
“Although Gary Vaynerchuk claims to work 20 hours per day, many highly successful people I know work between three and six hours per day. Gary Vaynerchuk wants to own the New York Jets. He’s also fine, apparently, not spending much time with his family. And that’s completely fine. He’s clear on his priorities.” – Benjamin Hardy
A common misconception in the side-hustle business is that you need to work 12 hours a day, 90 hours a week. Otherwise, you’re not putting in enough time. This is simply not true. You can still outwork your opponent even if they claim to work more hours a day than you. The key here is identifying your priorities. What are your goals? What’s more important to you?
For me, that’s Jesus and family. My relationship with God is my No. 1 priority. Spending quality time with my wife (and someday, my kids) is priority No. 2. I won’t sacrifice that time for work. I’ve accepted what that means. That means guys like Gary Vaynerchuk and thousands of other entrepreneurs who are willing to spend 90 percent of their waking hours hustling might work more than me. They might create a bigger enterprise than me. That doesn’t make them better or more capable than you or me. You can still outwork them. As long as you prioritise your working time and produce as much as possible (while respecting your other priorities), you’re still outworking your competition. Do what you can with the hours you have. Cultivate discipline. Master your time so you can maximise your production with what time you have. Do this every day.
You Can Outlast the Lucky Ones and Outwork the Lazy Ones
“Time you spent being jealous of others’ success is time they spent working. Guess which one is more valuable.” – Jon Westenberg
Talent is intimidating. It’s scary. It makes you feel insecure and not good enough. If you’ve never heard of Matthew Dellavedova, you’re not alone. He was the 2nd string point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA Finals. Dellavedova had been an average player throughout his career. He had the unenviable task of guarding Warriors’ Stephen Curry, the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Despite being completely outmatched in talent, Dellavedova was determined to outwork Curry. He dived for loose balls, threw his body into far bigger defenders and got smashed all game. He guarded Curry like his life depended on it. Through sheer effort, Dellavedova stopped Curry. The Cavaliers won. He had faced a far superior talent and won by simply outworking his opponent. Dellavedova was so exhausted, he had to be hospitalised that night to recover. This is what outworking talent looks like. This is what outlasting luck looks like.
Many talented people rely on their magnetism and God-given abilities to succeed. But their luck will eventually run out. Their laziness will eventually be exposed by the individual who is willing to outwork anyone. Are you willing to outwork your opponent?
If You’re Not That Good Now, Consistency Will Make You Better
“Don’t coast on talent alone. Let it remind you of the responsibility you have to honor your gift. And if you’re not that good, well here’s the good news: you can get better.” – Jeff Goins
Odds are, you’re not your best self yet. You still need time to develop your skills and talent. Consistency makes you better. Consistency will make you incredible. It will make you world-class.
I’ve been playing a lot of pick-up basketball since my wife and I moved to South Korea. I’m right-handed, and I’m pretty uncoordinated with my left hand. But I’ve been practicing consistently. I’ve been doing 500 dribbles with my left hand a night – cramps! I’ve had to run after the ball dozens of times because I’d bounce it off my foot or it’d slip away from my awkward grip. But recently I played a game, and I was killing it with my left hand. I’ve gotten better at playing left-handed this month than I probably ever have in my 20 years of inconsistent practice until now.
If you’re not that good now, consistency will make you better. When you’re consistent, you find out just how bad you are. But a funny thing happens; you find out that, shockingly, you’re actually not that bad. You’re not that far behind your role models. Most people will never experience the explosive growth that happens through consistency. It takes patience, humility and commitment over time.
“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to open the door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.” – Les Brown
There are millions of people out there who are far better writers than I am. They’re better at basketball, can run a faster mile, make a better sales pitch and create a better product. For now.
But as soon as they give up (which always happens to people who rely solely on talent), I’ll be there. I’ll be ready to outwork them, because I’m not more talented. I’m not more charming. I’m not skilled enough. But I work harder. And that’s why I’ll win.