Sticking to It Works

I think that we all know what works and what doesn’t work, but in order to avoid doing the work, we come up with fake stories about what works. How do you make progress? You stick with it.

There are other things that matter, of course, but the big one is whether or not you stick with it. I read a blog post once where a trainer was talking about the two types of people that go to the gym. There are the types that go inconsistently, constantly trying to figure out a better way to train, and then there are the guys who just show up and keep trying to increase the weight they move.

Technique and strategy matter, of course, but not as much as sticking to it. After all, sticking to it will refine your technique. You learn what works and what doesn’t, and you course correct. Starting with the best possible technique won’t get you to persist, but persisting will get you to good technique. That’s why it’s the most important thing.

One of my favorite gems online is this forum thread. Jonathan Hardesty posted in 2002, saying that he would draw one sketch a day and post it online. He stuck with it for eight years. At first his drawings were terrible and inconsistent. Some would look halfway decent, but others were disasters. He drew whatever he felt like, almost at random. No person would look at his early work and say, “This guy has artistic talent”.

But as time went on, his paintings started getting better and better. So did his technique. He would spend weeks studying anatomy or some new medium. Eventually his work became good, and then amazing. Now he’s a professional artist, both through selling his paintings and through teaching.

He started out as a bad artist without a real game plan for improving other than working on it every day. Now he’s a great artist.

When I think about Sett and the threats that may approach us, I’m not worried about some guy with a genius idea for blogging. Good ideas are good, but they’re not what create greatness, and they’re not even a necessary component of it. Sett is good not because we started with a complete vision of how it should be, but because we’ve worked on it tirelessly, always trying to improve it. It’s good because we stuck with it.

Know what I’d love to see in the community section here? I’d love to see people saying, “Here’s what I’m going to do to get good at X. I’ll post every Y days in this thread with progress.” Think about if someone did that– can you imagine someone sticking with that plan for two years and not getting good at whatever they were doing? I can’t. So if there’s something you want to get good at– why aren’t you the person who commits to that plan, guaranteeing some level of success for yourself?

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Photo is my favorite Van Gogh painting– Almond Blossoms from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

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