How to Be Great? Be Good, Repeatedly

Greatness is not about overnight success but multiple periods of repeatable habits. It is not about being better than someone else but about being dependable, disciplined and earned.

Many people want to be great but do not want to put in the effort over a sustained period of time to get there.

Success comes from hard work, consistency and intentional inputs that lead to expected outputs. The best way to achieve this is to focus on small wins consistently rather than trying to achieve perfection. By doing small things a great number of times, one can achieve greatness.

Continuous improvement and developing a habit of progression are essential to achieving greatness. Stop speculating and start taking action, focusing on tangible progress and developing repeatable habits to transform into greatness.

πŸ”— Recommended Reading: How to Be Great? Just Be Good, Repeatably

Achieving Greatness

Throughout our lives, we encounter various levels of success and failure. As we accumulate more experiences, it’s natural to wonder which ones were genuinely great and why.

Surprisingly, it’s often not the sudden, dramatic achievements that stand out, but the incremental, sustained efforts that lead to significant achievements over time.

In other words, greatness is not about overnight successes but about periods of repeatable habits.

This article seeks to explore the true nature of greatness, the importance of consistency, and the process of building a habit of progression to rise above mediocrity and achieve lasting success.

The Foundations of Greatness

Before delving into the heart of the article, let’s establish two fundamental principles:

  1. Greatness is not instantaneous.
  2. Greatness is earned.

The following story tries to establish those.

Story Warren Buffett πŸ‘¨β€πŸ¦³πŸ’°

One of the most clear examples of a person achieving greatness through compounding effort and habits over a long time is Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors in the world, known for his disciplined approach to investment and his philosophy of buying and holding.

Buffett started investing when he was just 11 years old and learned about the power of compounding at a very young age. He was not an overnight success. His wealth and success have grown slowly and steadily over the decades, thanks to his consistent investment habits and the magic of compound interest.

Buffett’s investing principles involve patience, long-term thinking, and a focus on fundamentals, including the quality of the business, its management, and its potential for long-term profitability. This strategy allowed him to make consistent, measured investment decisions, often going against popular trends.

He is known for reading extensively, up to 500 pages per day, to increase his knowledge and understanding of different businesses and industries. This is a habit he developed early in life and has maintained throughout his career.

Additionally, he has been a strong advocate of living frugally and prioritizing saving and investing over excessive consumption. He still lives in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500.

Buffett’s consistent investment strategies and frugal lifestyle habits, sustained over several decades, have allowed his wealth to compound and grow exponentially. As of my last knowledge cut-off in September 2021, Warren Buffett’s net worth was approximately $100 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people in the world. This success story is a testament to the power of compounding effort, disciplined habits, and long-term thinking.

Becoming great starts with acknowledging that you’re not already great and recognizing that greatness is not achieved in a single moment or through a stroke of luck. Instead, greatness is a reflection of consistent effort put in over time.

Additionally, greatness is not about being better than others. It’s about being reliable, disciplined, and continuous progress towards mastery.

πŸͺ΄ In short, greatness is earned through hard work persisted over a long period.

The Role of Consistency in Achieving Greatness

One common misconception is that success or notoriety is achieved through flashy and unconventional methods.

This idea arises from the media’s focus on outliers – events or personalities that deviate from the norm. This portrayal can mislead people into aspiring for notoriety solely for the sake of it, or believing that the success of these outliers is solely due to their unorthodox approaches.

In reality, the most reliable and effective path to success is through consistency. Consistency may not be the easiest way to achieve success, but it provides a higher level of certainty and a more predictable outcome rather than relying on a lucky break or being “discovered.”

Check out the following example that beautifully illustrates these considerations. πŸ‘‡

The Art Class – Quantity vs Quality

James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits,” provides an insightful example highlighting the importance of consistency.

A study in a photography class divided students into two groups – “quantity” and “quality.”

The quantity group would be graded based on the number of photographs they submitted, while the quality group would be graded on the excellence of a single image.

Surprisingly, the best photographs were produced by the quantity group. Rather than merely theorizing about perfection, they consistently tested and refined their skills through practice.

Developing a Habit of Progression

The journey to greatness requires the development of a habit of progression. In other words, you need to become accustomed to consistently improving even when faced with obstacles or setbacks. The key here is to ensure that your habits and efforts are focused on the right inputs, as consistency in the wrong direction will still lead you astray.

Nothing goes up into the right forever. Greatness is achieved when pushing forward with action when you doubt your future success the most.

If you’re struggling to identify the right path forward, try creating more opportunities for optimization. Instead of making significant life changes annually, be open to trying new things monthly or even weekly. Test various options and, when you’ve found a path that seems to work, double down.

Simple algorithm: Do more of what works.

Remember, the objective is not perfection but rather continuous and incremental improvements. Learn to be satisfied with being “good” at something and then working towards making those “good” habits second nature.

In time, these small, sustained efforts will be what sets you apart from those who merely aspire to greatness without putting in the necessary work.

Maintaining Patience and Perspective

Another key ingredient in achieving greatness is patience.

Recognize that progress may be slow, and that’s okay. In most cases, significant changes happen incrementally and often without fanfare. The key is to stay dedicated to your practice and improvement, even during periods where it feels like you’re not making any headway.

Additionally, avoid the temptation of getting bogged down in the search for an optimal plan or strategy.

While it’s essential to learn from your experiences and make informed decisions, it’s also crucial not to become paralyzed by the desire for a perfect approach. Focus instead on taking action, learning from the results and iterating your tactics accordingly.

The Power of Repeated Small Wins

One powerful strategy for achieving greatness is to accumulate small, consistent wins.

Rather than aiming for grandiose accomplishments, aim for reliable successes that you can build upon over time. These small and often unremarkable successes might not make headlines, but they add up and compound to significant achievements in the long run.

πŸ’‘ The Story of British Athlete Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy, one of Britain’s most successful Olympians, is an excellent example of how small, consistent wins can lead to greatness. Hoy didn’t burst onto the scene as an unstoppable force. Instead, his success was built slowly and steadily over time through disciplined training and continuous improvement.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1976, Hoy was always athletic but did not start competitive cycling until his late teens. His early career was marked by consistent performances and modest successes, but he was not an immediate superstar.

Hoy’s approach to training emphasized incremental improvements. He followed a principle called the “aggregation of marginal gains,” which was popularized by Dave Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director. The idea was simple: find a 1% margin for improvement in everything you do. Instead of looking for one area to improve by 100%, Brailsford and Hoy sought hundreds of areas to improve by 1%, accumulating small, consistent wins.

From adjusting his training routines and optimizing his sleep patterns to tweaking the ergonomics of his bike, Hoy focused on these marginal gains. These small changes might not have made headlines, but they added up and compounded over time into significant improvements in performance.

The result? Hoy became one of the most decorated cyclists in history. He has six Olympic gold medals and eleven World Championship titles to his name. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to cycling.

Sir Chris Hoy’s story encapsulates the power of small, consistent wins.

His approach underscores the idea that the best things in life and the most successful endeavors are not usually the result of miraculous events, but rather of carefully planned and executed strategies born from dedication, consistency, and gradual improvement.

His story highlights that focusing on the process and developing the right habits can help achieve and sustain greatness.

Remember, the best things in life and the most successful endeavors are typically not miraculous events but carefully planned and executed strategies born from dedication, consistency, and gradual improvement.

By focusing on the process and developing the right habits, you’ll forge yourself into the person who can not only reach but also sustain greatness.

The Pursuit of Greatness …

… is not about achieving sudden, monumental successes but rather about embracing the power of consistency and adopting habits that foster continuous improvement and progression.

By staying focused on the process, learning from your experiences, and remaining patient, you’ll set yourself apart from those who only dream of greatness without ever putting in the work.

Remember: greatness is simply good, repeated consistently over time. By cultivating this mindset and dedicating yourself to the process, you’ll discover the true essence of greatness and see it reflected in your own accomplishments.