The Art of Inconsistency (Repost)

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This is a repost of material that originally appeared on October 7th. Enjoy!

I realized this morning that I am consistently inconsistent. One week I may go on a diet and be completely dedicated to losing weight, and then the next I may eat dessert at every meal and have fast food for lunch every day. Two or three weeks later, I find myself back at square one. I have come to the conclusion that I do not know how to be consistent.

I have this sneaking suspicion that this affliction of inconsistency does not merely affect me. After all, there is a whole section of music built around the notion of inconsistency. Ever heard of “One-Hit Wonders?” Once you sift through all the “Who Let the Dogs Out” and “Kung-Fu Fighting” singles, you realize just how significant these tunes were to their appropriate generations. So, why have we not heard any more of their music? Because the culture changed. The singles were a hit one day, and then the next day they were not. Inconsistency. This happens repeatedly in the music business, which is why the “sophomore slump” racks the nerves of every potential artist. They want to continue to be relevant; if they have a consistent sound, then that is at risk.

We see this in our everyday lives as well. The diet example that I gave earlier resonates with many of you I’m sure. Another part of inconsistency that I can relate to is in the job realm. As a substitute teacher, inconsistency is what I do. I may work three days one week and not work any the following week. Those of you in the freelance business can relate to this. Some weeks you think you can go out and buy a Lexus because you have so much work coming in, but you know that right around the corner you might have to eat Ramen noodles in order to pay for your cell phone bill. Ah, the joys (not) of inconsistency.

What’s so great about consistency anyway? Well, for many people (including myself), consistency equals balance. There is not too many out there who would deny themselves the opportunity to receive balance in their lives. Balance helps us to feel like we have some degree of control. Consistency means knowing what will happen next. After all, isn’t that the meaning of the word? It takes the weight off our shoulders. It relieves us of the pressure of the unknown.

When we go through a season of our life where inconsistency dictates, it is easy for one to crumble. All we focus on is the incredulous number of balls that we are juggling in the air. The blinders become more evident, and our field of vision narrows. But this is the period when we can actually control the direction our life moves toward. Pick one area of your life that you know without a doubt that you can consistently focus on. Maybe it’s reading everyday. Maybe it’s exercising everyday. Maybe it’s being a good parent everyday. When you become disciplined in one area, it tends to spill over (just like that bowl of soup you had for dinner last night) into other areas of your life. The art of inconsistency is that you can move from inconsistency to consistency with one little discipline.

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