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Perfect Record

You don't need to have a perfect record. You just need to show up more times than you don't. If you can't remember the last time you didn't show up, that's good enough.

Time erases imperfections when something greater outshines them.

Nobody has a perfect record of walking--we all slip and fall down at some point. Yet nobody thinks about that (unless it's you and you just slipped), because something greater--getting back up--outshines the act of falling down.

You don't need to have a perfect record. You just need to show up more times than you don't. And if you haven't shown up in awhile, that's okay too.

Imperfections in time are erased by consistency in movement towards perfection.

Nobody has a perfect record of brushing their teeth--we all miss a day at some point. Yet nobody thinks about that (unless it's you and your teeth are scuzzy), because something greater--brushing your teeth regularly--outshines the act of missing it.

An imperfect record becomes one that appears perfect when you consistently apply the act of choosing to work towards perfection. When and how are not important. All that matters is choosing to act.

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  1. I’ve been thinking the same thing for the past 6 months, as I can remember. That’s the reason why I started posting one photo everyday since January 1st, 2016.

    First of all, I don’t believe that you’ll be successful by starting on January 1st. But I committed this year because I was fed up of not keeping my new years resolution in the past. So I did it.

    And what I’ve started to notice is that my photography taste and quality is increasing every month. If, for example, I’d produce 3 good photos on January. I’d produce around 5 good photos on February and some more on March. And it goes on…..

    The baseline of my photography has increased just by showing up.

    Sometimes I won’t have good photos to post. Instead of not posting, I still post a bad picture just to keep the streak going on.

    I just did this to experiment what would happen if I post every single day. And without a doubt, I’ve started producing better pictures.

    I still remember how you used to commit something everyday on GitHub. There used to be green dots on your GitHub timeline most of the time. I tried doing that once, but failed.

    I think the underlying principles is the same for everything. Success is inevitable if you’re consistent. And, I think, that’s the most difficult part. 🙂

    • Yes! The more we work at something—even if we suck at first—the better we will get over time. It’s inevitable. But the key to making progress is showing up regularly. The longer we go between showing up, the more steps back we end up starting each time. That’s the true power of consistency: it lets you climb to somewhere far ahead of where you started.

      I’ve had people comment that my writing is “so good”, but I could not see what they saw (I still have trouble seeing it). However, when I thought about how long I’ve been writing—how long I’ve been putting in the work and how long I’ve been studying words and scrutinizing sentences and paragraphs and essays—I realized that I must be a better writer than someone who is just starting, or someone who hasn’t put in the same amount of time and effort.

      I wrote this post after realizing how my daily habit of walking each morning to greet the sunrise has, after several weeks, officially become a habit. I realized it was a habit was when I found myself mid-walk without much recollection of how I had gotten there. All of the actions necessary to get out of the house and start walking had become so automatic that they occurred subconsciously.

      That’s when I tried to recall the last time I missed my morning walk. I knew that I had missed it at least a few times over the prior few weeks, but the trouble was that I could not recall even one of those days. The consistency of the morning walks had overshadowed the inconsistency of missing them.

      That made me think about how I often beat myself up over not publishing something regularly, and often stress out about missing a day, a week, or a month when I’m trying to build a habit of publishing regularly. The beauty, I realized, is that trying to create or maintain a perfect record isn’t important at all: it’s showing up, over and over and over, even when something breaks that perfect record, because the significance of a record disappears into oblivion when it’s overshadowed by the power of consistency.

  2. I noticed that there’s a nice movement in this piece of writing as if it’s coming back to the central theme of the essay. Is it intentional?

    As always, I love your writing and the way you see the world! This is very timely. Thank you.

    I promise, I will show up to see all that you write, as much as I can 🙂

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