Month of May starts Tennis Grand Slam events, which have been of both excitement and interest to me. I would look forward to seeing my favorites, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal play out, first at the French open on the clay court and then immediately at Wimbledon on the grass.

And year after year, I’ve been mesmerized at how Federer and Nadal manage to keep themselves at the top, with their practiced serves and shots, nimble footwork and cool mind. Seeing them play for a few hours tells the untold stories of consistency of decades behind this accomplishment. From tiny tots wielding rackets half their heights, to the teenagers bursting on the pro circuit, these tennis aces have managed to stay put despite injuries and stiff competition from the top ones as well as the newbies. ‘Consistency is a big thing in our sport. Can you serve like this for five hours? That’s the goal’, said the Swiss maestro Federer. ‘When you’re carrying an injury, clearly it’s tougher, finally, when you’re free again, you find better zones, more consistency’, he added, making it amply clear that every sportsman swears by consistency.

Don’t you think that applies to all areas of life, why just sports?

In myreview on the bestselling book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear, I wrote on how the author elucidates on the power of consistency in setting new habits and deleting old unwanted ones. Small changes in your daily actions go on to yield long term results, he says, adding that ‘the chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to break’. Good or bad, habits are formed when we consistently behave in that manner. In fact, winners and losers have the same goals. What differentiates one from the other is where they give up. It is in fact a classic example of compound interest accumulating silently in your account!

Mohammed Yunus from Bangladesh won the Nobel prize in 2006 for founding the Grameen Bank and boosting micro finance as a means to help people rise out of poverty, one taka (the local currency) at a time. Small savings and small credit have both helped people in many ways and have proven that consistency in saving is something one can never underestimate.

So what is this consistency and how does it play out?

Doing something again and again, without giving up is consistency in its simplest sense.

People realize the power of consistency when they set goals and also set systems and processes to achieve them. Merely setting goals will never yield desired results if you don’t act on it consistently. I know of many entrepreneurs who set out small and kept going at it even when things were not looking promising. From bloggers who kept posting on their blogs, to actors and businessmen, it is this one trait that separates them from those who give up.

It takes time for something to succeed. Malcolm Gladwell, who I was hooked to a few years ago for his research based books and ground-breaking theories, propagated the 10000 hour rule. Gladwell famously said that it takes a minimum of 10000 hours of practice for someone to excel in his/her endeavor (music, sport, craft). What he meant was pure consistency at play. Keep practicing. Keep improving. Don’t ever give up. Then before you know it, you’ve aced your game. Read more...