The virtue of consistency

February 7, 2011
2 min read

“One. Two. Three.” What comes next? “Four,” I hear you say? But what about Three, because the best predictor of tomorrow is today. Or perhaps it is Two, where we average out the past and take the view of the mean? Or is it One? Because as much as things change, they tend to always stay the same?

Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Aldous Huxley added more clarity in saying, “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.”

I do feel that this should be challenged, though, in a particular view of consistency. In a number of frequent instances over the last few weeks, it has become clear to me that for the most part, being consistently excellent, gets you placed and opens you doors. I do think that there is a threat by being conventionally consistent, for the world changes incredibly fast, and you can easily be caught out with the tide and your swimmers round your ankles.

In a hiring environment, flavour and diversity and balance and achievement count in ones favour. Consistently delivering excellence, irrespective of the channel or circumstance. In a business transaction, the consistency with which the company under review has performed over a number of years will be key in calculating price and securing investment. In a friendship or relationship, the less volatile and wildly swinging the emotions, the more secure and stable the foundation that can be built. Perhaps..

One could almost venture as far as saying that you should be predictable to some degree or another. Outlier events earn us the experiences we can put down to “school fees” but to secure trust and respect, be it from friends, colleagues or teammates, we should consider delivering excellence consistently.

What are your thoughts?


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