The Tortoise and the Hare

Any activity performed consistently over a long period of time can produce results. If you sit at a desk every day in a chair that has wheels or castors on it, you will travel, on average, eight miles each year while sitting at your desk. We all remember the famous story of the tortoise and the hare. While the hare is obviously faster, the tortoise wins the race based on consistency, not speed. We live in a microwave society, and unfortunately, oftentimes a crockpot effort is what success requires.

Psychologists tell us that any activity you perform for 21 days in a row will become a habit. A habit is nothing more than an activity that you engage in with little or no conscious thought. For most of us, our morning routine of getting ready to go to work or school is based on a series of habits. If someone asks them, otherwise-intelligent people have to think about whether they brushed their teeth or not because they performed the task without even thinking about it. Great chefs often struggle to provide a set recipe when requested because so much of their process is done unconsciously as a habit.

I believe that our attitude is the most important element of success; however, our attitude does not directly impact our results. It instead impacts our actions which, over time, become habits that, in turn, do, indeed, impact our success. I’m reminded of a story I call A Tale of Two Sisters. Anyone who regularly invests $10 a day in an Average Index Fund can become wealthy over a normal working life; however, starting the habit early is a critical element because time is your ally in success.

Once upon a time, there were twin sisters who attended an investment seminar on their 18th birthday. The seminar leader encouraged everyone to start an investment plan for their retirement. Sister A got excited and began regularly investing while Sister B procrastinated, saying, “I’ve got decades before I retire.” On their 30th birthday, Sister A revealed to Sister B the impressive amount she had amassed over the last 12 years. Sister B finally got inspired and invested consistently from age 30 until she retired at age 65. Sister A lost her momentum and never invested again beyond her 30th birthday. At age 65, Sister B had invested for over 35 years while Sister A had only invested for 12 years. Both sisters had invested the same amount each month during the years they contributed to their retirement plans.

Conventional wisdom would say that Sister B would have significantly more money; however, as often happens, conventional wisdom would be incorrect because Sister A was able to retire with significantly more money than her twin. Both sisters accumulated wealth by applying a habit regularly over a number of years, but Sister A added the secret sauce made up of getting started early.

As you go through your day today, realize that to succeed you’ve got to form good habits and start now.

Today’s the day!

 

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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