“Frequently, the difference between success and failure is the resolve to stick to your plan long enough to win.” – David Cottrell
Sometimes things happen in really weird ways. When MvM contributor, Jordan Armenise, submitted his post earlier this week, it had a very similar message to the article I had ready for today. (If you didn’t read his post, click here: When New Years Resolutions Jump The Shark). He talked briefly about how easily people drift away from their new years resolutions and focused on the “new years resolutioners” that decide to join the gym for a month. I wondered if I should write a new column as it had similar ideas but what a better way to drive this message into your head than with real world examples from myself and Jordan.
So…. what is Adherence?
About a year ago, my Dad gave me a book by Lee J. Colan called Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence and I have been a strong believer and practice this message everyday. When my Dad first told me that he had a book I should read, I wasn’t too enthused, because as some of you already know, I’m not a big reader. I much prefer the form of book that I can pop into my DVD player, sit back, and watch on television. He gave me the book and I was instantly shocked. “It’s only 50 pages?? and the words are big??”. It looked more like a brochure than a book. It even had a few photos and some graphs that took up most of the page. Yes!! Although it sounds small, this was the perfect example of judging a book by its cover (or size). I managed to read it in about an hour and immediately thanked my Dad for the knowledge I had just obtained.
As the book jacket reads:
“Every year on January 1st, people make new resolutions. It is a time to start fresh, to make new commitments for the future. But we all know what happens… about 70% of all New Year’s resolutions last less than one month.
The same process occurs in business every day. Plans are made and then fizzle over time. A good plan gets you in the game, but executing your plan gets you into the winner’s circle!
Simply “sticking to it” can propel you ahead of your competition and ensure that you win the game. The Adherence Equation contains the success factors of the highest achieving individuals and teams.”
“Success does no depend upon the brilliance of your plan, but upon the consistency of your actions”
Basically the idea of Adherence, is if you stick to something long enough that you are passionate about, success will find you. There are too many people out there, that when they don’t see results, they give up and little do they know, they are on the brink of success. You often hear about those overnight success stories, and as rare as they might seem, they may not be as “overnight” as you are led to believe. This book brings up a really good point about a bamboo tree. It says that when a bamboo seed is planted and nurtured, it’s possible for it to take up to two years before even a single sprout will break through the earth. But when it happens, it can quickly grow to over 100 feet in only two weeks. Use this an example for your life. Take the two years of taking care of that seed, as the hard work and consistency you put into your plan, and take the quick 100 feet of growth as a reward for your adherence. Some people will often attribute luck to successful people, and as luck may play a super super super small part in it, luck tends to find those who work the hardest and stick to their goals.
Never give up. I’m a perfect example for this and I hope sharing some personal stories will inspire you to continue following your passion. (In this article and the many to come)
I don’t have much money, and some might even say that I’m broke. I love to quote motivational people, as you can tell by the Jerry Says column on this website, and I found that when I was down, reading inspiring quotes from inspiring individuals helped me regain my passion to be happy. One day, I was was hanging out with a group of people and one individual kept going on and on about how much money they had, and asking me how I could live my life the way I was. I wanted to respond with “what.. you mean happy?”, but I gave them my own version of an inspirational quote. I told them, “You might know what it’s like to have money, but I know what it’s like to have a dream”. As simple as it was, it struck a chord with that person and they shut right up. They instantly realized that all the money they had, wasn’t making them happy. The point is… is that no, I don’t have an excess of money right now, but I am happy with what I have. I know that if I stick to my plan the money will come, more success will come and more opportunities will come. If you have read my previous articles, you know about how I have turned my failures into a success. You can basically say that I am a 10 year bamboo seed just on the brink of sprouting. I will never give up.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle
Experts have concluded that it takes 28 days to either break a habit or develop a habit. The idea is that if you do something consistently for 28 days, come day 29, it will be second nature for you. For me, waking up at 7:30am every morning, and changing the Jerry Says quote, isn’t a hassle for me. I’ve been doing it since September so now its just part of my daily routine. I challenge you to test the “28 Day Habit” theory and let me know how it went. It can be for something big or something super small. Maybe you want to force yourself to get up earlier. Well try it. Struggle for the first couple days and make sure to stick to it. It will soon become a habit just like it did for me. I use this theory in my everyday business practices. Take my photography for example. I am definitely not at the level I want to be, but I know the easiest way not to get there…….. to give up. I am sticking to something that I am passionate about and have seen vast improvements in my work to the point where I can make it a career. I have a great life now, but imagine way back, when I was frustrated because I couldn’t shoot like some of the photographers that inspire me? I would have never known what this life would be like and how happy it would make me. Happy people find happy people and vice versa. If I gave up and didn’t practice the Art of Adherence, I would have never of travelled to Haiti to not only photograph some of the most interesting people but gain a whole new perspective on life. Sticking to something that doesn’t seem to be working is a hard task, and I’ll be the first to tell you that, but you can never give up. Keep watering that seed, keep feeding that soil, if you stick to something long enough, it will happen. People always ask me how long I’ll do this and be broke before I decide to give up and when I answer with “forever”, they get a weird look on their face. What they are doing is asking how long I’ll be a photographer for, before I decide to give it up, but the way I look at that question is…. how long will you strive for happiness, before you decide to give up. The ultimate goal in life is to be happy, and photography is a route that brought me there.
My hope for this post was to hopefully motivate you to keep going. Follow your passion and dreams. Times will be tough and giving up will be the easiest way out, but sticking to it will give you the most rewarding result. I encourage you to pick up this book and read it as it goes deeper into focus, passion and competence which are the three components of Adherence. You can purchase the book by clicking HERE, or if you live near me, I will gladly lend you this book as it has definitely done wonders for my life. If you are in any sort of leadership position, this book will give you a look on leading, that you probably never even thought of. Stick to it, you may be years away from achieving your goal, or hours away but you won’t know unless you keep on going.
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great” – Lee J. Colan