Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

Although the famed transcendentalist writer was a brilliant essayist, I don’t always agree with Emerson. I understand that Emerson explicity pointed to a “foolish” consistency, but it often gets mistaken for being simply consistent or stubborn or close-minded. However, I think that consistency, rightly understood and practiced, is key to succeeding in anything in life–from playing a sport to programming to playing an instrument. Consistency in doing something, everyday, produces a bigger and lasting effect than simply doing something for a long time but seldomly.

Being consistent is actually a good thing.

In my own life, I’ve been struggling with this need to be consistent in things that matter most to me, namely swimming, piano, personal coding projects, writing, and reading. I try to hold myself accountable with daily recording of what I did. But my discipline is wavering and behavior highly influenced by adulting.

We often hear the idea that it takes about 10,000 hours to be good at anything. That means lots and lots of practice and hours devoted to learning one’s craft. What doesn’t get emphasized is that the time spent must be done consistently, preferably everyday so as to build the muscle memory.

Denzel Washington, one of my favorite actos, once said that “Without commitment, you’ll never start, but more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish.” His words ring true to me and I believe he’s right.

To watch and hear the whole speech, and it’s defintely worth your two minutes of time, watch Denzel Washington’s motivational speech