Over the summer we went to magic shows almost every Tuesday night held in town, and there’s a magician we like in particular. He’s witty and funny, and liked by both children and grownups. After his show in mid-august he talked about why that show was very special to him. It was his 1200th show in the past 33 years!

Out of curiosity I divided 1200 by 33 to see how many shows he did per year, then divided that number by 12 to see how many shows he performed per month on average. I got the number 3, that means he did about 3 shows per month.

The number 3 is a small number. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to do 3 shows a month, it sounds very reasonable and manageable. But if you go forward and multiple that number by 12, then 33, you get this amazingly big number, 1200. Here’s the magic though, consistency.

Imagine if the magician didn’t perform the amount of shows consistently month after month he would not have reached the big number. Of course, his skills would not be this amazing either.

That is the power of the compound effect of consistency. Can you put in a little bit of effort day in and day out and expect great things over time? I bet you can! You will be surprised by how little things add up quickly over time.

The compound effect can be visualized as rolling a snowball. When you are just starting out it’s a tiny ball, then as you roll along more snow is packed on. Now you have a medium sized ball. You keep on rolling, now this time it is the medium sized ball you are starting out with. This medium sized ball keeps on packing on more snow and grows exponentially. And soon you have a very big snowball.

Each moment of the packing on new snow is on top of the previous moment. Your new starting point at each moment is escalating; your growth is not linear. Perhaps the person who understands and utilize the compound effect the most is Warren Buffett.

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It is amazing how money can grow, with proper investing, like rolling a snowball. However, today we are not talking about wealth in particular; we are talking about everything that you do, and how consistency is the key to your achievements.

If you set a goal of reaching a destination. No matter how long the distance between where you want to go and your current place, as long as you 1) embark on the journey and 2) head towards your destination consistently, you will, sooner or later, reach your destination. There is no other options exist. If however, you head towards your destination and you walk 2 steps forward, then 2 steps backwards, then you will never reach your destination. If you walk forward 2 steps and going backwards 1 step you will still reach your destination, even though the time it takes is longer. As long as you make consistent progress you will reach your destination.

Consistency is a crucial ingredient for success. Being consistent means to fully commit yourself to the task or goal, away from distractions, in a sustained manner long-term.

How to become consistent so you can achieve your goals, no matter how far-reaching it seems now?

Eliminate self-doubt.

Our biggest enemy towards consistently putting in effort towards your goal is self-doubt. Being consistent requires you to wholeheartedly carry out the actions towards your goal. With self-doubt you can’t fully commit.

Honore de Balzac When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.

You want to write a book, in fact you already started the first chapter, but then your inner voice says how I am to write a book. I have never written a book before, so how I am qualified? I am not the go to expert in this field, who will listen to me and buy my book? I don’t have a social following, who will find out about me and my book? Other things equal, when you doubt yourself, you won’t be persistent on carrying out the actions required by your original goal you set out earlier.

An abundant source of self-doubt is other people’s opinions or any outside happenings. You may notice that successful people seems to be stubborn to the outsiders because they don’t allow the outside opinions to sway them away from their goals. Eliminate self-doubt from all sources and carry out the necessary actions consistently. You will become a beneficiary of the compound effect.

Learn from the failures.

A Chinese saying goes, failure is the mother of success. Often times it is from failures that success is born. Thomas Edison, who light up the world with this invention of light bulbs – to which we are grateful for, made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts. When asked by a report, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Edison takes failure as the necessary steps towards his success, he didn’t give up midway but persisted through failures. Without building upon the knowledge gained from the failures, without consistently pushing through, we may not have light bulbs today (or you can argue that the invention of light bulb would be made but only later, even if that’s the case it still requires an inventor to consistently marches towards success and no giving up).

If you are frustrated with failures and don’t learn the valuable lessons from them, you are likely to give up your goal. You will not be consistent towards your endeavor and you certainly will miss out on the compound effect that brings out by consistency.

There is a great virtue called being consistent. Consistently putting in effort towards your goal, consistently follow a healthy diet, consistently work out, consistently save money and invest, consistently show your love and affection to your spouse and children, consistently offer your service, consistently improve your existing skills and build new ones. The magical power of consistency will help you reap the reward of compound effect to get what you want.