A Case for Consistency
Consistency is the key to mastery.
The only way to succeed is to continuously improve. The Japanese have a name for it: Kaizen.
If you’ll forgive/indulge me, let’s use me, and this photo, as the vehicle for this discussion here.
Yes, this might be a nice image, difficult to capture, etc, etc. And yes, of course I was happy it got 1st place in this competition 🙂 But let’s talk about the process, not the prize.
I don’t play the lottery. I believe we have to create our own luck. But if you do want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket. Every week. You have to get in –and stay in- the arena.
I succeeded with this photo because I invested thousands of hours, thousands of $’s, to take thousands of other photos that were essentially comparative failures. (Thank goodness for the advent of digital photography, which significantly reduced my slide film processing bill!)
And there are endless examples in our wild world, of this phenomenon.
As I speak about in my Thriving in a Wild World™: Success Secrets from Africa’s Big Cats keynotes, staying consistent, persistent and persevering is the difference between thriving and not surviving, in the face of competition. Africa’s Big Cats live in a brutally competitive ecosystem. For each of the big cats, this impala, for instance, is a hugely popular item on the menu. All the big cats are hunting in the same market. And the big cats’ success rate is surprisingly poor. Even lions, the apex African carnivore, fail more than they succeed. Lions’ kill rate is only one out of three actual hunts. But the Big Cats are not deterred by failure. They keep going. They persist. They stay consistent with the basics. They keep hunting. They stay in the arena.
I’m a big believer in the merits of competition. I speak every week around the globe on how it forces everyone in -and often even out of- the arena to stretch themselves and elevate their performance. It keeps EVERYONE on their toes, on point, at peak performance, and leaves no room for complacency. Competition fuels success. It is a catalyst to Kaizen.
So if I’m to be authentic and have integrity as a speaker and as a human being, I have to practice what I preach and walk my talk.
I love speaking. It’s what I do and I enjoy every minute. And I love my hobby of photographing wildlife. As a speaker, you’re stretched and kept on your toes all the time because every keynote, every audience, every context is a new challenge. As a wildlife photographer, every sighting presents different circumstances, different lighting conditions, different animal behaviours. To photograph wildlife however, requires serious logistic gymnastics, dedication and time… lots and lots of time! So, because my travel these days is necessarily (and –don’t get me wrong- thankfully) mostly to conference venues to speak rather than to the bushveld to photograph, it’s important to create the time to still stay consistent with my wildlife photography, and to continually stay in the competition arena to keep stretching myself…
So the path to success is actually a choice. Not rocket science. Not nepotism. Not lottery luck. Just staying consistent and persistent. Just staying committed to Kaizen, in everything one does.
Success might not be easy. But it is simple.
And there are a few simple, controllable keys. Like consistency.
And EVERYONE and ANYONE can be choose to be consistent.
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Lorne Sulcas - The Big Cat Guy