Friday, June 7, 2013

My Take: Chapter 5 of Maxwell's 15 laws of Growth - The Law of Consistency

Consistência / Consistency
Consistência / Consistency (Photo credit: lucas_f)
Motivation gets you going - Discipline keeps you going!  This is the point of Maxwell's 5th chapter.  John says he used to think his mission was to motivate people, but discipline and consistency is what really creates the wins and makes a difference in people's lives.  And, as we all know, it is not easy.  Human beings are not naturally prone to consistency - just the opposite.  In fact, we are only complete consistent when we are dead!

The key is to work to improve ourselves, not our job, or others or our position.  Our purpose to improve ourselves will help us do what we don't like to do, but, as Maxwell says, "our dislike in doing the best thing is subordinated to the strength of our purpose". The way to do this can be assisted with some simple rules laid out in this chapter.

  1. Keep it simple. A good example is in playing soccer.  You can make the amazing pass through 3 defenders to the open striker, or you can make the simple pass to your team mate who is 15 feet away and he can make the pass to the striker.  Simple is better. 
  2. Be patient.   "All things are difficult before they become easy". 
  3. Value the process.  A section of this chapter is entitled, "Maybe it is time to Stop setting Goals".  John suggests instead of setting goals we think about growth.  It is not totally clear to me how to tactically execute this, but the idea is that a goal actually limits us because it puts a "cap" on the activity.  Growth on the other hand does not limit us - it simply allows us to keep moving forward as far as possible. 
  4. Know why you you want to improve. Keep these reasons in front of you daily.  I think distractions are the biggest reason we don't achieve what we want to achieve because there are so many things that we can do at any one time.  Again, consistency and discipline are key.  One really good suggestion in the book is what is called the Compound Effect from a writer named Darren Hardy, who writes, "The compound effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.  What's most interesting about this process is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don't feel significant." For example, I just posted my 3 month goals on my mirror this week and it is amazing how much more focused I am in the day to day work because I see those goals when I brush my teeth in the morning and at night.  This is a good example of a small step that makes a big impact. 
  5. Know when we are supposed to improve. This is somewhat strange, but the point is that we accomplish great things by doing something that gets us closer every day.  John makes the point that we don't decide our future ultimately; we decide our habits and our habits decide our future.  Habits are things we do frequently and are part of our "being". 
Another great point of this chapter is that we need to figure out how to be consistently productive. The premise is that we typically can't be inspired to work, but we work and in the process we get inspired which keeps us working.  You can read the book for details here, but the point here is that people who have accomplished a lot don't do great work everyday, but they do their work consistently, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, and they keep at it. 

Motivation gets us going, but discipline and consistency keeps us going. 

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