Sunday Sparks Issue 7: Consistency and Mundanity

Gooooood Evening and Happy Sunday!

Before I start, I wanted to apologize for not sending out an issue last week. There's no excuse and a (hopefully) compounding thing shouldn't be interrupted unnecessarily. So, I'm sorry. Won't happen again.

Getting back to our regularly scheduled program, I've been thinking about the value of consistency a lot. The idea that practice makes perfect has been drilled into our minds since we were kids. But, in this pursuit of perfection, we're often stuck in the practice stage with nothing to show for our efforts. Often, it's much better to jump in and suck every day until one day, you don't suck anymore. Here are a few thoughts on consistency:

Atomic Habits

This is one of the most comprehensive and practical books on forming and maintaining habits. Here are some ideas from the book that are transformational:

Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them

Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. bad habits make time your enemy

The idea of not interrupting a compounding thing is from this book. The author advises recovering fast when you do inadvertently miss a ritual. So, I guess this is what I'm doing now.

If you're interested in the book but don't have time to read it, I wrote up a summary here. Check it out!

The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers

I read this paper around two years ago and have re-read it about a hundred times since. We often think of high performers as either people who are endowed with talent or oddballs who have sacrificed their happiness to get to where they are right now. This paper argues that excellence arises from neither. Excellence is mundane and boring. As the paper says,

There is no secret; there is only the doing of all those little things, each one done correctly, time and again, until excellence in every detail becomes a firmly ingrained habit, an ordinary part of one's everyday life.

A few notes on daily blogging

I've thought a lot about my life's work. I've always thought that this would something big—the next great American novel or a masterpiece painting. I've recently begun to think that it can be something small I do every day—a thing that doesn't necessarily have any direction or purpose. But a thing, nevertheless, done every single day, for years. As Austin says, when you stick to a daily practice,

Good things happen. Something small every day leads to something big

Writing online has brought me enjoyment and opportunities. I'm just hoping I never break this consistency again.

One thing that adds friction to my writing practice right now is how annoying it is to write in markdown and serve my content on a static site. A static site is awesome for many reasons--none of which are the actual writing experience. I'm working on an editor that lets you draft, write, edit, and schedule posts on a friendly interface and push your changes directly into your git provider. This editor will be available on the browser and as an app so that you can write on any device!

If you're interested in this project and would like to suggest other features, I'd love to know! Just hit reply to this email!


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Lastly, I want to leave with a question—What's something you've been thinking a lot about recently?

Until we meet again,