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This is the key to success, or is it?
What the "guru's" are not telling you
Good to see you again.
Welcome to the first issue of August.
In this one, I mainly bring updates, lessons learned and resources for you.
Let’s get it on, shall we?
Main quest 🛡
This time we’ll be talking about one of those very popular and talked about concepts but hard to implement in real life.
What is it?
None other than consistency.
You’ve heard about it everywhere.
People using phrases like “consistency is key” or “consistency is everything”.
Twitter growth “gurus” would tell you that to blow up and have 1000’s of followers along with a stacked bank account, you have to be consistent.
Consistency is this elusive thing that everyone wants but very few people get.
But it’s not this “success hack” that many make it out to be.
It does not guarantee success. And the lack of it does not guarantee failure either.
The point I’m making here is this:
Consistency is not the “magic key” that unlocks the doors of success, it’s a prerequisite.
It keeps you in the game long enough to have many more chances to win compared to others who won't last that long.
Viewed from 2 different perspectives, one person can be very consistent or very stubborn. The difference between the 2 is the results they get.
But when you’re on your own journey, it’s extremely hard to be aware of that.
We either spend too much time on something trying to “make it work” or not spend not enough time and get discouraged before seeing the results coming.
Let me give you a personal example for this.
I’ve thought I’m quite the inconsistent person. Not being able to stick with one thing long enough.
Because I’m a generalist and have many different skills and interests, I don’t follow the traditional route of being really good at one and only thing.
Specializing in one area is not my thing (that was one of the reasons why I quit my developer job).
What I’ve heard from many different people over the years is that I’m never going to be successful if I don't specialize and become great at one thing.
I’ll be “cursed” with inconsistency for the rest of my life.
Yet, I got a full time job as a frontend web developer with no previous experience, reached a senior role in 2 years, and was among the top earners of all my peers.
But I still wanted to know if I could become a “consistent” person despite my many different interests, skills, and resistance to do “just one thing”.
And I started to do so with writing.
In case you don’t know, “writing more” was one of my new year’s resolutions for 2020.
I never built my own blog, I procrastinated too much and was too perfectionist to get something usable. Instead, I started on a technical writing platform that had a small community of other “want to be” developer writers.
I quickly found how hard writing is. Made 2 posts in January and got sort of “burned out”. It took me too much time to come up with something mediocre at best.
But with the pandemic I had a lot more extra time and so I started learning more about how to get better at technical writing.
I had many things that I wanted to share at the start, so coming up with ideas was easier. And I was surprised when I found that I got a badge from the platform.
Writing was hard but getting motivated with badges made it easier to keep going.
I didn’t have any specific milestone I was aiming for. Only wanted to see how long could I keep that streak going.
I changed my routine and started building a daily writing habit to be able to publish on time before the week ended.
4 weeks became 6 and then 8. I found that there was also a badge for hitting 8 weeks in a row.
And I kept going.
Eventually, I reached the 16 week milestone. This earned me one of the rarest badges of the platform.
Do you see what it says there?
Whoa, what’s that? A person like me being consistent? Crazy.
I went for 2 weeks more and then on the 19th week, I decided to call it quits and take a break.
Lesson learned: Writing is much better in community than doing it all by yourself.
But the first time you do something it might be a fluke, right?
After all, I didn’t become super popular or “rich and famous” after that streak.
And I decided to challenge myself and test that consistency muscle again.
This time, with tweeting.
I joined one of those “100-day tweet streak” challenges.
If past performance is a predictor of the future then I should be able to make it with no issues. It was a “SMART” goal as well.
As much guarantee of success as possible, right?.
Well, spoiler alert…
I didn’t finish the challenge. I couldn’t do it.
Maybe I wasn’t “consistent” enough.
Or maybe I focused on the wrong stuff from the start.
What was the culprit that made me fail?
To not repeat myself again, check out this thread.
But it doesn’t end there.
I kept on trying until I realized what was wrong about my previous approach. And then I tried a different one.
Fast forward to today, August 6th of 2023, my tweet streak currently sits at 265 days.
I’ve been tweeting twice a day (except on weekends) starting from a regular day back in November.
(You can see the exact day that streak started in a screenshot of that previous thread.)
Is it worth it to keep that streak for so long?
It depends. I have mixed feelings about it.
What I’ve gotten from doing those “consistency challenges” are a couple of lessons:
The fact that I’m a generalist and have multiple interests doesn’t mean I have to keep jumping from one thing to another indefinitely.
Consistency is not a personality trait that you either have or don’t. It’s like a muscle that you can train and develop.
I don’t believe streaks are the mark of a consistent person. Keeping streaks can do more harm than good. (I’m looking at you, Duolingo. 😒)
Just because you’re consistent with something doesn’t mean you’ll be wildly successful at it. Consistency is only the price of admission.
Here is a perfect place to put one of those “consistency visuals” that float around on Twitter.
Let me try to find one…
Ahh yes, this is not what I had in mind but it’s a great one.
This time I’m bringing you the results of my “bulking experiment” and where I am at after the whole month that it lasted.
It started on the 2nd week of July. Monday 10 to be precise.
Every Monday morning I weighed myself under the same circumstances. I snapped a picture and then went on with my day.
Here’s the starting weight:
And if you remember, the experiment was only to increase the amount of eggs, nothing else.
I have to say that tripling my consumption from what I was used to proved to be more challenging than I thought.
The first 2 weeks I made it with no major problems (except for one day that I had missed 1 egg from the total).
And after that, life started happening. I was getting 4 or 5 most days without seeing how else I could fit the missing ones on the meal plan.
On the next Monday, July 17 I was around 54.9 kg.
Then the 3rd week, July 24 I went up with 55.3 kg.
And on the 4th week, July 31 I was at 55.9 kg.
Until that point, one could say, “great that was a success!”
But I happened to weigh myself today, August 6th and guess what happened?
Did the weight go up or down?
If you said that it went up…
Sorry to disappoint.
It went down to 55.3 kg. 🤷♂️
But it’s not only about weight.
Since I effectively tripled the amount of eggs per day, it’s easy to think that the cholesterol levels would increase as well.
But I was able to prove the naysayers around me wrong by showing them that my total cholesterol is around 190 mg/dL (i.e. milligrams per deciliter)
With LDL cholesterol, the “bad” kind, around 85 mg/dL and HDL cholesterol, the “good” kind, around 50 mg/dL.
Takeaways from this experiment:
There wasn’t such a big of a change in measurements which means to me that if I didn’t have access to anything else, having more eggs can keep things pretty stable.
I don’t have to skimp on them if I already had some for breakfast. They fit almost every meal and they’re the cheapest sources of high-quality protein.
I’m not going to try to shoot for a specific amount each day. Instead, I’ll let the amount vary depending on the day or the requirements of my body for that time.
In all experiments, there’s always an element of randomness, of expectation vs reality.
In this case it is good to see that I can keep things pretty normal with something as simple as “eating more eggs”.
For this week, I’ve found some pretty cool stuff I want to share with you.
In the context of helping you save time and improve your work.
The 1st one is a tool called Socra. This comes with an AI agent that is your personal “goal-crushing” accountability partner. That agent is called “Socrates” and is, in my opinion, an actually reliable agent for completing tasks.
I’ve dabbled with it a bit and I’m yet to fully explore it but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks very promising and not a let down like many of the general “AI agents” out there.
The 2nd power-up really made me go, “Woah, dude!”.
It’s in the same vein of autonomous agents. But this is more an AI personal assistant made by the guys at HyperWrite. It works as a Chrome extension and it understands natural language to carry out tasks that you have to describe well for it to execute.
It is the closest thing I’ve seen to the “Action Transformer” ACT-1 by Adept that was announced a “long time ago” and can perform actions in the digital world with only one detailed instruction.
Pretty cool stuff here. With these AI tools, I have to be careful not to go full geek mode and run out of credits in 1 or 2 days (it already happened with Midjourney v1 haha).
But anyways, give it a look, try it out, and see how it works for you. (And of course, let me know about it).
From the vault 🏛️
This time I have for you a post about benefits that you can have when you supercharge your learning.
Some of those are “obvious” and others are more unknown and untalked about. But all in all, you’d be much better off having them than not knowing about them.
That’s it for this week!
Thanks for joining me on this one.
Have a great start of the week and see you in the next one.