Which is harder to do – 10 push ups in one day or 1 push up each day for 10 days?
If you are like me, you might opt for 10 push ups today even though 1 push up is easier than 10. The reason 10 in one day is easier than 1 for 10 days is it is tough to be consistent. You have to be thinking about push ups for 10 days, even if it’s only 1 you have to do.
1 per day means you’ll be doing pushups for almost two weeks! Why not just knock out 10 today?
Doing one per day may seem ridiculous, but let’s look at the a cumulative effect of doing one per day for a year. Keeping in mind how one push up in and of itself is almost a laughable goal, how does 1 year of this simple task add up? One push-up per day every single day equals 365 push-ups per year.
Now let me ask you question. How many push-ups did you do last year? Was it less or more than 365?
This is the epitome of the tortoise and the hare effect. You know the story. The hare runs full speed ahead, gets tired, burns out and ends up sleeping before the finish line. The tortoise does what he can, consistently, all the way to the end.
A tortoise chooses 1 per day and does it every day. The hare rushes to get it done as soon as possible.
When talking push ups, writing a book or learning a foreign language, there are some definite costs to approaching your work as a hare. You never get into a groove. You make more mistakes. Since hares constantly put down and pick up projects, they have to relearn what they are doing each time. It’s also easier to quit.
Where in your life and work are you acting as a hare? Where are you putting forth 110% effort on large tasks and projects but only in short speedy bursts? Have you considered it would be better to give 100% of yourself to completing one project before moving on to another?
You’ll have to do some soul searching to find out which is more important. But to me, finishing one important goal completely and on time is better than 10 large goals finished “whenever” and in a haphazard, frantic pace.
Becoming a tortoise in this day is a difficult maneuver. Companies want speed – no matter what the cost. So to be as steady and as wise as a tortoise takes guts. You have to stand by your principals. You have to take your time and do things right. That’s where real value comes from.
But through this consistent excellent action you will gain a reputation for excellence. It’s tough to compete with tortoises because they are so consistent.
Those who speed ahead may win the sprint, but the cross country race will be lost.