©2012, Diligence Eke
Dedicated to Dad and Mom
For teaching me self-discipline while growing up
This is a free e-book that you may give to friends and loved ones you think might benefit from it as long
as you do not alter the contents in any way. If you have questions or comments you can contact me at:
There must be consistency in direction – Edwards W. Deming
I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the
consistency rather than the highs and lows – Drew Barrymore
Consistency only comes with practice!
This is the last building block of self discipline. Consistency is the ability to maintain a particular standard
or repeat a particular task with minimal variation.
Consistency is quite different from perseverance. Perseverance has to do with doing something but with
the presence of difficulties and hindrances. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with any level of
performance or delivery. Consistency, on the other hand, may never have anything to do with working
against obstacles or difficulties; however, it has a lot to do with carrying out tasks with required levels of
performance or delivery.
Perseverance basically helps you take up a particular course of action by helping you break through
obstacles, but consistency helps you continue in that course of action and at a particular standard.
Hence perseverance is all about learning to do something while consistency is all about sustenance.
For an easy example, after deciding to cut down on your weight, it takes perseverance to break free of
bad eating, bad sleeping, and poor exercise habits and begin to eat right and exercise well. This takes
quite some time to achieve, but gradually you come to that point where you do not have to struggle
with your appetite, whether or not to grab that so-much-sugar-n-fat ice cream, etc. Perseverance has
helped you break through those barriers and now you are comfortable with doing what is best for your
It is after this point that consistency comes in. It helps you to sustain this course of action in the right
direction. Without consistency you will certainly go back to your former poor eating and exercise habits.
Consistency is a very important upholder of self-discipline. Everything you have ever learned about self-
discipline will be useless without consistency.
Self-discipline is a virtue that is built on good information about yourself. This means that for you to be
consciously self-disciplined in any particular aspect of your life, or your life in general, you must have
known your flaws and excesses.
Of what use will it be to spend wisely this minute but then spend foolishly the next? Let’s say that you
need to cut down on your weight and you are on some diet or exercise plan, etc. of what use will it be to
follow your eating and exercise regimen today but then go ahead the following day to eat those foods
you know will not help you? It is useless!
No consistency, no self discipline! It is as true as that. Who are you, a student? You need consistency in
how much you study if you want to really do well. Are you into business, writing, etc? You need
consistency, too, if you want to succeed.
Consistency makes you do that right thing over and over. It makes you act positively in the direction of
your decisions without looking back. Truly speaking, consistency is actually a force; that quiet but strong
virtue that helps you to keep acting in your desired direction.
Think about it: how many times have you gone back to your old habits just because you lacked
consistency? A good guess might tell that many times you have. The truth is that you lacked consistency.
Consistency and change
Now, the idea of following through with a particular decision or course of action may not always hold
true. In fact it does not always hold true. It is almost a cliché that the only constant or consistent thing is
Successful people usually possess the ability to discern when to quit or change. It is no secret that
sometimes after pursuing a course of action for a very long time you have to quit at some point.
Sometimes knowing when to quit is more important than being consistent.
The reason for this digression is so that you do not end up looking foolish because you want to be self-
disciplined. For example, if you successfully disciplined yourself in terms of your spending and you were
able to spend $500 every month. Now your income has increased considerably, it might be stupid to
limit your spending to that same $500. Changes and adjustments might be needed so as to reflect your
raised income. Say, buying better clothes, feeding better, buying better home appliances, etc.
Another example might be for you as a parent trying to raise your kids the right way. Many parents fall
into the danger of believing that because a particular method worked for kid A it will also work for kid B.
Sadly, most of the time it does not work out that way. In child training there are basic principles to
follow, however, you need to study your children closely to note their differences and peculiarities and
as such should be reflected in how you train them. You cannot be consistent all through. Change is also
Someone once said that consistency is contrary to nature and life, and that the only consistent people
are the dead. It sounds funny, but there is an element of truth in it.
This is not asking you to throw away consistency and self-discipline. It’s just telling you that change can
sometimes be necessary as a part of consistency. You need to be consistent, but you also need to know
when to change in order to follow the direction of something better.