Can Consistency Be Bad For You?

The short answer: “yes”. As surprising as it may seem, and as praised as this skill is, persistency, consistency, or, if you want, discipline in a broader sense, can be bad for you.

Let’s take a look at the longer answer, shall we?

Consistency versus Stubborness

By now, you should all know about the famous 1% / day rule. If you improve in some area just 1% every day, in 365 days the compound improvement will be enormous. Even if the quantity seems insignificant – it’s a mere 1%, after all – the consistency with which you apply yourself towards it makes it count big time in the long run.

But when consistency melts into stubbornness? From which point on perseverance melts into toxic behavior?

In my personal experience, this happens when you lose contact with your “why?”. And you just stick to it “because”.

What makes things even more complicated, is that the “why?” changes as we go along.

For example, you may start a certain diet, because you’re curious about the benefits. Something like going vegetarian, or vegan, or even do intermittent fasting. For a few months, that 1% you apply each day goes very well and you enjoy the compound benefit of this improvement.

But, at the same time, your body starts to experience some sort of imbalance. Because the diet itself is applied so strictly, some useful things for your body are missing out. Not going into details, like which vitamins or minerals, but at some point, maybe after several years, this will eventually happen.

Well, at this specific point, if you keep going on, if you keep being consistent, you’re just stubborn. You lost contact with the initial “why?”, which was, remember, “being curious about the benefits”.

Consistency must be a consequence of a clear assessment, a follow-up after deep introspection, not a response to external, uncontrollable stimuli. Your perseverance should not be enforced by peer pressure, by inflexible rules or by long forgotten goals. If it’s not coming from a space of presence, from a clear awareness of yourself in the time continuum, consistency can be even more toxic than a “happy-go-lucky” life approach.

And that’s specifically because, in time, its effects are so overwhelming.

If you apply to yourself just 1% of some poison every day, the effect will be that, in time, your body will simply cease to exist.

Being Consistent While Allowing Necessary Changes

So, if consistency must be applied only after we examine the current status, how do we manage change? If we are on a certain path, and then we realize that path is no longer useful, how to we cope with this?

Well, there are as many ways to cope with this as many humans are on this planet. I don’t believe there’s some magic approach to it, but I can share what worked for me.

First of all, allow some time for the change to actually take place. If the older structures are to be replaced by something new, the old have to really go away first, and that takes some time. Remember that you build those structures too and they served you well, for a while. Try to part ways gently.

Second, keep a core of values that will never change, no matter what. You may call them your identity, your persona, whatever you want, but do try to build some indestructible core to which you can always get back. Some of these values may be: “don’t hurt other people”, “don’t engage in useless talk”, or “respect other people property”. In many cultures, this is called a “moral code”. Keeping one and abiding to it is fundamental. Because it allows you to be consistent on the inside, while changing your ways of doing things “on the outside”.

And third, once the old is finally over and you’re ready to embrace the new path, do it with small steps. Remember, we’re not talking about quantity, but about applying to it with consistency.

Just one step per day will take you everywhere you want, as long as you’re doing it every single day.

Image by jhfl from Pixabay

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