What’s the cardinal principle of all training? The single most fundamental element of making progress in any field of personal development.
If you want to get good at something, consistent practice is the only way. Yes, progress happens at different rates for different people for a multitude of reasons; you can always train smarter and refine the process, you can always find better and more efficient methods. But one thing is clear: without consistency very little can be achieved, in anything.
In practical terms, this rests on one thing.
You’ve got to be there. You’ve got to do the work. Even on – especially on – the days you don’t particularly want to. Once you have a positive habit of doing something consistently it becomes much easier to maintain that habit. Break the chain of activity just a few times too many and that habit will decay and deteriorate, until it ceases being a habit at all… and you’ve lost your consistency.
Of course, one has to be wary of rushing in headlong. Consistency arises from progressing at a consistent pace that is self-sustaining; trying to do too much too quickly can lead to injury, or to burnout, or to hitting a plateau and losing motivation – which then breaks the pattern of practice, which – again – breaks the consistency.
Equally, understand that true mastery can only come from deep immersion within a practice. It has to become part of who you are. Don’t just ‘fit’ your practice in around your work, your play, your life – give it the same priority you would give anything that is important enough for you to devote your time to. Don’t find time for, make time for it.
And show up. Every week, every class, every session.
The rest is inevitable.
(Photo by Grafikeriet at Parkour Generations Morzine Camp)