You choose a goal for yourself. You research the best way to go about achieving that goal. You begin taking action towards your goal. You see very little in terms of results. You give up.
Don’t bullshit me. You know this has happened to you. You probably wrote off your strategy as being the reason you were unsuccessful in your endeavor. “I didn’t succeed because I didn’t have the right plan.” I get what you’re saying. I’ve said the same thing hundreds of times.
Like you, I’ve failed at many things. I’ve failed to kiss girls when I knew it was the right thing to do, I’ve failed to make enough money to sustain myself (without taking money from my savings) my first time abroad in Asia, and in many regards I’ve failed at being a good family member.
We all fail. Often we fail and it’s the end of the story. But it doesn’t have to be. One kid gets cut from his middle school basketball basketball team and decides to quit. Another kid gets cut from the team and practices several hours per day for an entire year so that he’s able to join the team next season. Through the boy’s persistence and consistency he’s able to will his way towards a spot on the court.
At age 13 that boy has already learned something most people haven’t. He’s learned the most important ingredient to making progress in any endeavor — sticking to it.
In today’s society we’re “heady” people. We like to plan, we like to analyze, and we like to discuss strategy. Those are all wonderful things, but the reality is that they’re irrelevant if you fail to apply them. A job well planned has no value until it’s begun the process of becoming a job well done.
That’s not to say shortcuts don’t exist. You may think you need to be a retired rich person to travel. Nope, totally unneccessary. Instead of traveling western Europe or Australia splurging tourist style for $4,000+/month instead travel Southeast Asia like a local for $400-800. Boom. In one small shift to your strategy you were able to decrease your expenses by 80%.
Can’t scrounge together $800/month to travel Asia? It’s ok. If you want you can always learn to be a digital nomad and create an online income for yourself later. In the meantime, however, there’s no excuse not to travel if that’s your dream. Money does not need to be a barrier.
Why? Because you’ve got a good strategy. You realize that although it would be nice to have 1,000s of dollars of passive income every month that those simply aren’t yet the circumstances of your life. For the moment you’re dealing with the broke hand in life.
You only have $2,000 but you want to travel around the world for a year. What do you do? One possibility is you could use a website such as Helpx or Workaway.info. In exchange for a few hours of help on an organic farm, in a hostel, teaching English, etc. per day you’re able to have accomodation covered by your host and you’re able to receive a more authentic view into the culture of the place you’re visiting. Voluntourism is an amazing solution that you can only come to if you’re willing to spend time and energy thinking outside the box.
Intelligent planning is important because it allows you to find shortcuts and the optimal strategy (or at least the best strategy you’re capable of identifying), but there’s still more to than that to making progress in something. In the end, the result you produce in any endeavor is roughly equivalent to the effectiveness of your strategy times your ability to remain consistent in applying that strategy.
Effectiveness of your strategy times consistency equals your result.
Therefore, if you want to make signficant progress towards a goal you need to do two things.
(A.) Spend time analyzing your situation and goal to determine the optimal strategy for the pursuit of that goal for someone in your unique circumstances.
(B) Remain consistent in carrying out tasks in alignment with your strategy.
People glorify strategy rather than implementation because strategy is sexier. But of course, progress cannot be made without the implementation of your strategies. You may have heard this before, but even if not, you’re surely able to understand this concept upon having it brought to your attention.
The truth about making progress towards your goals is that although short cuts may exist for some of them, in most cases you’re going to have to work a long time for what you want.
If you want to become more fit your results lay mainly in your ability to consistently get to the gym. If you want to become a skilled writer you needs to write thousands of pages. If you want to be a better comedian you need to perform in lots of shows.
However, the one nuanced point most people fail to mention is that the best way to make progress isn’t to rely on a perfect strategy upfront (that delays your project an infinite amount of time as you procrastinate in search of it) or to simply remain consistent in the implementation of your intial strategy.
The ultimate strategy for any nonfatal endeavor is to start quickly and remain consistent, receive lots of real-world feedback based upon the implemention of your initial strategy, use that feedback to refine your strategy, and to consistently apply your new strategy as you remain introspective and continue to look for ways you can further refine your strategy.
Again, that’s the secret. Consistently show up, refine your strategy, show up, further refine your strategy, and continue being a consistent action taker that is able to be introspective in identifying the flaws in your strategy. DO THIS over a long period of time and YOU WILL MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS and guarantee your success.
Note: Of course sometimes you don’t need to consistently do something and stick to it because it’s truly not the right thing for you. Having the ability to accurately assess and be honest with yourself in what you should pursue is another difficult to acquire trait but something that will have tremendous value regardless of what you want from life.
Bonus: Watch the video below to see an example of showing up over a long period of time. I’ve included a clip from the first vlog I ever recorded in 2013 to show what a dramatic difference a couple years can make when you’re consistently taking action toward your goal (which in my case was recording videos to become a better public speaker). Compare the video below to the video at the beginning of this post or any of my videos from 2015 and you’ll see a DRAMATIC difference in the way I carry myself and my ability to deliver speeches.