Consistency vs Intensity – Why both are important.
Humans are fascinating. Our capacity to develop our bodies and our minds is virtually limitless. If we choose to.
Think of the most iconic leaders in history. The amount of personal development that they invested was reflected in their incredible capacity to rally nations, diffuse conflict and resolve unthinkable issues whilst uniting entire countries.
Now think about the most influential athletes of our century. They are admired because of their incredible specialization, the dedication and grit in their ascension to the very pinnacle of human physical achievement.
As humans, we have an incredible capacity for growth and development. Both physically and mentally. There is a simple formula for this growth. Stimulus + recovery = Adaption.
The greater the stimulus, and the more effective our recovery, the greater the adaption. This principle holds true for lifting weight, learning how to play a new instrument or developing proficiency in a new martial art.
Our brain is similar to our body in that with neuroplasticity, new neural connections are formed when we learn new skills. Our movement patterns adapt with a neuro-muscular proprioception as we practice technique. Research in the field of neuroplasticity suggest that the difficulty of the practise should be just under our current maximum threshold of capability to illicit the best response and create those new neural pathways.
Leveraging this principle can help us consolidate the adaption to maximize our benefit from any endeavor we embark on.
Following the law of stimulus and recovery, humans always return to homeostasis after a stressor is applied. Some quicker than others. This is where consistency and intensity comes into play.
Imagine for a moment that you’re cramming for a big test or an exam. (We’ve all been there.) You put in 7 full hours the day before the exam. Probably whilst clutching a caffeine ridden beverage and destroying a packet of something you shouldn’t be for moral and emotional support. How effectively will the information be retained? Now take those 7 hours and break them up into just 1 hour per day for a week. The one is an act of intensity, the other is consistency.
You go to a dentist once per year, an act of intensity. If you didn’t brush your teeth every day for just a minute or two, an act of consistency, how would your teeth fare after 10 years?
Training at a gym for 9 hours straight. A marathon session. Your body is broken, you can barely walk for a week afterwards, versus breaking that 9 hours up into 27 sessions of 20 minutes each. Perhaps an extreme example, but the principle remains the same.
We need acts of consistency, but sporadic acts of intensity can really move the needle for people. Keeping a mindfulness journal and meditating for 5 minutes each day can be supplemented and accentuated with attending a seminar on self development once per year. As can arranging a weekend away with a couple of close friends or your partner to really solidify that bond and strengthen relationships.
Consistency, an accumulation of tiny changes that is compounded over a long period will manifest in incredible results over the long term.
Imagine the person you can become if you nourish your mind with just 10 pages of a good book each evening. Over a year, that’s 12 full books read. Listening to a podcast each day whilst cooking, cleaning, doing laundry or commuting will expand your mind, your intellect and challenge your beliefs. You will become a better human. Supplementing these with one or two massive acts of intensity will supercharge your results.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.
Create a morning routine. Incorporate that which serves you. Practice consistency, build it up into a full blown habit, then add acts of intensity.
Human happiness is deeply rooted in growth and development.
We are happiest whilst deeply engaged in the process of developing our bodies and our minds whilst surrounded with deep, meaningful connections and relationships. Add a diet of whole, real, fresh foods and you have the recipe to become the best version of you.
Here’s to becoming the best version of yourself you awesome human.