No one was born a professional at anything. Whatever we are or become, we all are products of accumulated learning and development. There are God-given talents no doubt, but they must be subjected to refining, packaging and branding if others are to make any sense of it. To be consistent is to continue in a pattern; maintain a steady, even and orderly fashion; lacking change or deviation from a set goal or mapped out route.
In your teenage years, it is possible for you to assume that you have always known how to do certain things or you were born with certain abilities. There was a time in your life when you could not speak any word or language for that matter, you had to learn your mother tongue even though you were not aware of it at the time. You can speak whatever language you speak now because you constantly heard people or you actively learnt to speak. I have seen Yoruba boys who lived in the west all their lives and yet cannot string a sentence in the language successfully, same for other languages. The importance of a continued effort cannot be overemphasized.
It is common practice for people to outline their resolutions yearly, and it seems they succeed for the first few months. Have you made any? How many of those resolutions are left for you to break already? The practice is commendable and produces good results not necessarily by voicing it out but by renewing such resolves daily and being consistent in either refraining from unwanted practices or by engaging the coveted ones.
A fan achieves its effect of cooling not by mere movement of its blades, but by a consistent rotational movement. Break the chain and lose the cool! Consistent effort always trumps potential. You can only appreciate an object’s potential energy after it moves, not while it is at rest. At rest, it is only useful for calculations and paper work. It is when it moves or made to move or an external influence acts on it that its energy can be converted or harnessed.
There’s a barber in my neighbourhood whose services I employed at a time. I had to find another barber eventually because I could never predict when he would be around. 8 out of 10 times his shop is closed or open and housing a toddler who has no idea of his whereabouts. We are all familiar with those kinds of shops. I found another shop which was always open even though they were not as professional as the first.
There is this exercise we engaged in while in junior secondary school, we would get a magnifying lens out into the open when it is sunny. The lens is used to trap and focus sun rays on an object or another student’s palm; the heating effect that follows is remarkable. If same exercise is done on a piece of paper or hay and left for a while, it could spark a fire.
Have you been to a blacksmith’s workshop before? The pieces of steel made are results of repeated heating and hitting. There are no shortcuts to achieving results in any field or chosen walk of life. Determination and focus garnished with spices of consistency produces an amazing delicacy of sweet smelling success.
When I learnt how to play the chess game for the first time in 2010, I wondered how those who I played with seemed to have ready moves for every move I make. My move can take me 10 minutes after complicated permutations and combinations and they seem to just know exactly what to play in response while I resume another 10 minutes of brainstorming. 7 years later, I have realised that it is no magic to be able to play just like them. I probably appear the same way to the newbies I played recently. If they keep at it, they’ll soon have other newbies to amuse.
Certain things don’t come naturally, you have to work them out to make sense of them. In my last year in secondary school, one of our biology classes focused on the human heart. I decided to learn the drawing as I envisaged it as a likely question in continuous assessment. I made sure I sketched the human heart every day since then before reading anything. I did score a ten out of ten for that section in the assessment eventually. I am not much gifted in drawing but my diagram attracted extra kudos from my teacher for its beauty – I must have drawn that diagram about 50 times before the assessment. I cannot put that same diagram together perfectly anymore as I have since stopped the habit of daily drawing. I also did same in my biochemistry classes in 200 level where I always put the glycolytic pathway and Kreb’s cycle on paper before reading any day. It paid off in the exams and assessments. I cannot do same in so much detail anymore.
Consistency makes the least talented shine as though they were born with whatever they do. It attracts envy from onlookers who haven’t employed the same tactic to what they deem impossible. Consistency can be a refuge of the unimaginative and a tool for the highly proficient. Is there a task you consider difficult, out of reach or impossible at the moment? Take a decision now to work at it, your speed or accuracy is not the aim, just be consistent with it and you’ll soon have accuracy and speed to flaunt. Have you already broken your year’s resolutions in the first month? Just refresh and restart, be consistent and intentional in your decisions. You’ll soon discover that there are no limits and nothing is out of bound!
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© January 2017