top of page

The Power of Patience

An apple a day keeps the doctor away is counsel in favor of consistency. It’s age old advice that we ignore at our own peril. Doing a useful, small action consistently builds to positive outcomes down the road. The importance of doing little things daily which are constructive leads us to a better future. Unfortunately, the world in which we live peppers us with pictures of those who have achieved the pinnacle of performance whether it be fame, fortune, fitness, whatever. We see the outcome and not the effort that went into things. We see the result and want that now. We fail to recognize that whatever positive outcome has been achieved, it was, more often than not, preceded with years of patient effort. Much of what we see as great accomplishment has been attained by a steady series of small steps. This is true from finances to fitness.

Author Gretchen Rubin has noted that “what we do every day defines us more than what we do every once in a while.” Aristotle, many years prior, offered similar insight when he suggested “we are what we repeatedly do.” This approach can be used to generate either positive or negative results. It is our choice to develop streaks which serve. It’s our responsibility. If we are patient and put in a little positive action daily, this effort coupled with time becomes our strongest ally. By doing a little over a long time, we can achieve a lot.

As the tortoise teaches us in the Tortoise and the Hare fable, slow and steady is the fastest route in the long run. The commitment to consistency is the closest thing to a superpower that we each have available to us. Our goal should be not to rush in with newfound enthusiasm working to become great instantly. Instead, consider an approach that will support repeated, consistent efforts over intensity. What is the smallest amount you can do today that you can see yourself repeating day after day?

Kenneth Goldsmith wrote, “if you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.”

Prolific producers in any field cultivate consistency. Winston Churchill wrote 40 books and painted over 500 paintings. Even in his hobbies his commitment to consistent production was prevalent. One skill he made the effort to learn was bricklaying. It was almost as if he wanted to burn the beauty of taking something step by step into his brain during his free time. Boring can be beautiful.

Your streaks reinforce your influence. They are a great resource to reflect on your agency (Chapter 1). Streaks represent what you have done and of what more you remain capable. Your streaks represent your competence which fuels confidence. Confidence with which to both expand your commitment to consistency and explore implementing in other aspects of your life. You can use evidence of a successful streak in one area of your life in order to develop a new one in another area. Because you have been able to sustain doing five minutes of daily exercise for three months, you may now have more confidence to commit to writing one sentence daily.

Your streaks also serve as fuel when you falter or face struggles. Having a record of your streaks (from, hopefully writing them down see Chapter 5) serves as evidence of your efforts. You can see where you started and how far you have come. The evidence of your journey helps provide persistence in the face of pain.

Our streaks also symbolize our values. We regularly invest our time and energy into the things which are of importance to us. Those items we’ve discovered and defined in Chapter 2 will be reflected in our daily activities. It has been said “show me your schedule, and I’ll tell you your priorities.” We make time for what matters.

We don’t seem to be taught the power of patience or the strength of streaks in school. No one is tracking the number of math problems, sentences written, or pages read for us. Unfortunately, our experience with streaks may be limited to Snapchat. Work to wield the sword of Streaks for yourself. Some simple Streaks to start could include, wait for it, yes, eating an apple a day. It could be starting your day with drinking a glass of water. It could be doing one push up each morning after you get out of bed. It could be finding someone to say thank you to each day. It could be writing a single sentence of what went well for you today at the end of each day. It could be making time to go for a fifteen minute walk daily. It could be committing to waking up at 7 am each week day. It could be making sure to be in bed by 10 pm each weeknight. There’s not start that is too small. Developing the habit of doing something constructive with even a minute of effort a day helps us build into something meaningful over time.

STREAK is offered as an acronym to remind us of the Power of Patience. STREAK becomes Steady Tiny Repeated Efforts Accumulate Kolossally. Yes, we butchered the spelling on the last word. Developing daily disciplines creates massive momentum over time. Small efforts plus time leads to progress.

Do the do. Do the daily. Do.

bottom of page