It’s easy to look at the moments of key progress. When your income is growing, when you’re finally losing weight, or when you ace that difficult final exam. But I think it’s more important to focus on the moments of zero growth. Where you’ve gone to the gym for months without seeing improvements, studied for weeks just to get a C or watched your business stagnate.
Because, in the moments of stagnation some people give up, and some people keep showing up day after day. And even though they aren’t making progress in the moment, the latter group are more likely to succeed.
Why the Gym is Crowded in January
The first few weeks of January are an interesting time. The gym is bloated with people who have just bought new year-long memberships. But, by February, most of those people have left and it’s just the regulars who go every day.
The people who bought year-long memberships, only to use them for a few weeks are typically people who are looking for moments of progress. Once they stop tasting improvement, they give up.
The people who go every day will keep going even when they don’t make progress for months, or even years. While it may not be as glamorous as losing 30 lbs in a month, or building muscle in a few weeks, they are more likely to succeed.
Why Dead Columns Bloat the Blogosphere
I’ve started reading blogs that I became excited about. They were producing great content and showing new ideas. But after six months, the posting rate went from a few new articles per week, to less than one per month.
If you count email subscribers and regular visitors who don’t use RSS, this website has about 10,000 readers. I think the biggest reason for this is that I’ve been posting consistently for over three years. Many other blogs with fantastic writers have eclipsed this one, but I think the website has sustained a moderate size because I show up to write nearly every day.
I may not be the best writer in the world, but I show up. I’ve seen many blogs which have, in my opinion, better writing than my website, but the author stopped showing up after a few months.
Why Burnout Champions Fail Their Classes
In university I see many students who coast through their classes, and tackle epic studying sessions a week before the exam. They might invest 12-hour days studying right before a final. While I haven’t conducted a study to compare their results, anecdotally I’ve seen many of them are disappointed by their grades.
Compare that to the people that study consistently for a few hours each day and avoid the cram sessions. Not glamorous or intense, but they show up, every day. These are also the people with enviable GPAs.
The One Decision Life Boils Down To
I’ve found that a good portion of life boils down to one decision: to show up or do nothing. You can’t do everything, but you can pick a few things you give a damn about and show up for them every day.