Consistency > Intensity
A Veteran's Perspective
In a social construct that increasingly rewards “instant gratification,” we are constantly challenged by the perceived importance of getting to the “finish line” faster— and achieving the desired outcome more rapidly, even if it means taking shortcuts. But perhaps by design, our bodies, like our minds, reward consistency over intensity; promote process over end-state, and fuel slow and deliberate progress much more efficiently than rapid change.
The “motto” of consistency > intensity applies to most things in life, but it is particularly relevant around major life changes or challenges, the obvious being health. It also happens to be a foundational principle in the military (think preparation, training, fitness, etc.), and perhaps the antithesis of this outside of the military where we live in a world where January’s at the gym is about as predictable as the main course on Thanksgiving, and where we spend more money on 30-60-90-day fad-diets, fitness programs, and “get healthy fast” products, but we aren’t any healthier. We are living longer thanks to the marvels of modern medicine, but we prioritize the easy wrong over the hard right and would rather pay to play than invest to win. For all its’ faults, the military gets this right. Some call it archaic, simple-minded, or perhaps just old-fashioned discipline, but there is no question that the military has created a culture of consistency that can be carried on by our Veterans!
I have been fortunate in my life to learn a lot from better men and women than me; to follow in the footsteps of leaders who never had an “easy button” or simply refused to allow leisure, luxury, or convenience to get in the way of disciplined rituals and habits. Serving as an infantry officer and later a US Special Operations officer (US Army Rangers), I had the opportunity to fight alongside the very best, walk among the metaphorical and sometimes literal giants, and build a level of familiarity with discomfort and by extension, a pursuit of consistency, starting every day with fitness… but it all comes at a cost, daily! Our training was relentless; physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing, and it allowed us to do what we did. I learned to love it and it remains a priority today!
US Military veterans all have this in common, and that in and of itself presents an incredible opportunity for our Nation. Every branch of the military emphasizes physical fitness as a core competency (albeit to different degrees). We have each learned the importance of consistency as it relates to rituals, routines, and habits. Our lives not only revolved around the process, but relied on it. There was no finish line, at least not one that any of us would be interested in reaching… we were much more interested in helping the enemy find their way to the finish line.
If the “process” represents the recipe for success (Consistency), then the tools, behaviors, methods, etc. represent the ingredients. Get the process right and then spend the rest of your time, money, and energy optimizing the ingredients. Each must be selected carefully. I’m an advocate for investing time, money, and energy into the things that matter, so I often invest heavily in the best tools and equipment I can afford. I certainly have a list of favorites but that’s a post for another day; start with the process and learn to love it!
written by JD Dolan
Army Ranger Captain - Strike Force/Ground Force Commander
Partner at LDR Growth Partners
Nufabrx Government Advisory Board Member