Exercise and learning are cumulative. The benefits accumulate like climbing a stairway, one step at a time.
Watch a baby learning to walk. First it’s about tummy time which strengthens the neck and stomach muscles. Then it’s about learning to roll over, strengthening muscles and gaining a sense of gravity. Sitting up and crawling comes next to toughen up knees and strengthen the wrists and neck. The arms slowly get strong enough to grab a stool and hoist up the body. Pulling up and sitting down gets the legs working and toughens up the glutes. The first step finally comes after many tears, false starts, knocks to the head and LOTS of laughs.
What I love about the process is that baby never gives up. Failure is not an option or in the vocab and no amount of falling deters the kid. Every little milestone is celebrated with a toothless laugh and ear to ear smiles.
As adults we need to remember how we learned as infants. Small changes every day and results are cumulative. Don’t give up so easily! Practice, practice, practice. Laugh and celebrate the act of practice.
Persistence is the secret ingredient to long term growth. I’ll use writing as an example. Check out non celebrity writers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or WordPress. They write something most days (normally multiple things) and their followers start to expect a post on a daily basis. Some posts will be good, some brilliant and some forgettable – the point is that it’s dependable and persistent. Over time their readers see the musings and writings of the author as companion pieces to the day – like a morning coffee.
There’s the January gym crowd who start off with a bang and putter out around February, then there are the lifers who show up every morning and slowly get fit and stay fit. Lifers don’t have New Year’s resolutions because they have a standing daily exercise appointment that they don’t miss. It’s the same with writing. Never miss the appointment.
Persistence is underrated and underused because people think it’s obvious and table stakes for success. The reality is that most people give up early, so it normally does come down to the last person standing who gets the prize.
Show up every day. Persist
“Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” – Raymond Joseph Teller