The Most Important Thing About Life

They didn’t teach you this at school

Ok. Let’s cut the crap.

I see a lot of young folks doing the same mistake over and over again.

They know what they want to be doing. They know what they should be doing. Then they get anxious and stressed out about it all. And try to fit in 1 day — what is supposed to take years to accomplish.

These kids lack patience. They lack discipline. And, most importantly, they don’t understand the most important thing about life: all great things happen as a compound effect.

It won’t happen in a day. It won’t happen in a week. But if you stick to it long enough, it will eventually happen.

Image for post
Credits to Kristiana Pinne on Unsplash

Should you eat the whole cookie jar?

Everybody likes cookies. Well, ok, maybe it’s just me. I love ’em. Especially the chocolate chip ones.

Let’s imagine you have two identical friends. Something happened in the laboratory, and for some reason Bob and Dylan are the same people – but with different names. They are completely the same: they have the same height, hair, the same weight, the look similar, they think similar, etc.

Yeah-yeah, I know, it’s weird.

But please stick with me. I have a point here.

Now, the only difference between them is that Bob likes cookies and Dylan doesn’t.

So Bob starts eating a whole jar of cookies every day, just before going to bed. That’s his bedtime ritual. But Dylan doesn’t and continues living life, as he always did, but starts doing 10 push ups, every day.

Now remember: all other things are equal, so besides from Bob eating up the cookie jar, they both follow the same diet regimen. Let’s say that they even have an identical metabolism.

One day passes. Nothing has changed — they are practically the same people.

One week passes. Again, nothing has changed — except that Bob gets a rash and a pimple on his nose from eating so much cookies and Dylan now starts doing 20 push ups (10 becomes too easy for him).

One month goes by. Now Bob starts gaining weight, but not too much — only a kilogram or two. You wouldn’t even notice it. Dylan, on the other hand, starts doing 50 push ups per day — and his arms grow bigger. Girls start to notice it.

Six months go by. Now we see some changes. Bob gained 5 kilograms and has a nasty fat belly. And Dylan is ripped! He can do 100 push ups per day and his arms look really cool. He starts drinking gainers and taking supplements to enhance his results. Bob is crying, but continues to eat his cookies.

A year passes. Now we’ve got two different people. Dylan is strong, confident and works out twice a day. He is liked by both guys and girls, while Bob is fat, nasty and has pimples all over his face. Nobody likes Bob.

Sorry, Bob.

Now, what does this story teach us, except that if you eat too much sugar, you are screwed?

Compound effect matters. Doing something regularly amplifies any kind of action you do.

Remember how a day and a week passed and nothing has changed for the two guys? You’re right — what you do during one day, doesn’t matter. Actually, what you do for a week or for a month won’t matter on the scale of life! It’s what you do regularly that matters. And the bigger timeframe you’ve got, the more it will matter.

Humans are stupid

We are. We are not naturally made to think exponentially. The human brain is wired to think linearly.

I first realized this at a Maths school in Russia, when I was kid. My father really wanted me to go study math, so I did. I wanted to be a good kid.

It was hell. If you are not from Russia, India or China, you would probably die there.

Maths in Russia is like hockey in Canada (or, in Russia, probably, too). It’s just crazy how tough it can be. We had 14 hours of maths per week! I eventually got kicked out for not behaving properly (thanks god!). But thanks to that school, I easily scored 100% on Maths Level II SAT’s.

Never mind. Back to my point.

So one day the teacher told us to calculate what’s 2 to the power of 50.

Sounds easy, right? Let’s do it with me.

2 to the power of 1 is 2.

2 to the power of 2 is 4.

2 to the power of 3 is 8.

2 to the power of 10 is 1024.

2 to the power of 11 is 2048.

2 to the power of 20 is 1048576

2 to the power of 50 is … 1,125,899,906,842,624

Now that’s a fucking big number. I don’t even know what’s called.

If you are not a nerd and didn’t know what it was (like yours truly), you probably thought it was way smaller, right? Because even that we know that “2 to the power of 50” is 2 multiplied by 2 — 50 times — our brains automatically assume that it is a little bit more than “2 times 50”.

We are good at addition, multiplication even, but not at exponential growth. In fact, we suck at estimating any kind of long-term growth.

Humans overestimate what happens in the short run and underestimate what happens in the long run

This is true. And this is exactly why we fail to understand that going to the gym for a week won’t make us ripped, while working on some project in a calm way for a 3 years — will actually make us superstar experts (remember the 10,000 rule).

Hustling for a day or for a week won’t change anything. It’s the long game that matters.

Consistency is the key

I’ll imitate Ryan Holiday with his style of naming books and say that, Consistency Is The Key — to any kind of success.

  1. When I first started blogging in Russia — nobody knew me. 3 years of daily blogging later, I have a YouTube Channel, a Telegram Channel and a published book that was featured by Inc Magazine. And that’s only the beginning.
  2. When I first started my video production and social media marketing business, I had only one client: my grandmother. She is 65 and has her own company (yeah, I know — Russia, right?!). 2 years of daily hustle and sales pitches later, I’ve managed to work with brands like Starbucks Russia, Dunkin Donuts, influencers who have 1M+ subscribers on YouTube and 3 major Eastern European banks.
  3. This spring, after recovering from an illness that prohibited me from running, I couldn’t run even 1K and not be panting my heart out. Last month, I ran a half-marathon. It was the consistent daily runs that made this possible.

Nothing beats consistency. There is almost nothing you can do during a day that will change your life. And there is so much you can do on a regular basis, that will.

I see so many friends of mine obsess over finding a job or starting a business. They are so anxious to get the results quickly, that they put all of their energy into one day or one week — and they burn out.

It just doesn’t work that way.

To achieve anything, you’ve got to embrace the power of the compound effect and start being comfortable with the fact that you won’t get results quickly. You’ve got to accept the fact that you will do this (whatever it is you are trying to do) for a very long time. You’ve got to be patient. And you’ve got to show up — every day.

Right now, I am going outside my comfort zone. I moved to another country (from Moscow to London) and exited my business and all of my projects in Russia. I left all of that behind in order to start building myself as a global writer and influencer. Once again — nobody knows me or wants to do anything with me.

So what do I do?

Like always, I show up. Every day. I write. I publish. Nobody reads me. I don’t give a fuck. I still do it.

Because I already know that it’s all temporary. I will do this for 2–3 months or maybe a year — and I will see the results come.

Consistency is the key.

Show up. Be consistent. And win.

Embrace this idea and let it give you freedom. You now have a tool to achieve whatever you want. Instead of stressing out about “yet not getting” there — realize, that anything is possible if you put some consistent effort to it.

90% of success is showing up

— Woody Allen

…consistently.

Written by

Making sense of the world and teaching others. | Subscribe here: https://www.faldin.blog | Reach out: faldin.sergey@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store