Is Consistency Really King, or Does it Get in the Way of Brilliance?

I started this blog with the claim that ‘showing up’ consistently yields undeniable benefits. I also said that Consistency is Key to Creativity.

Guess what? There are strongly opposing views to this idea of Consistency being King!

It’s much like the controversy over clutter. Many claim that removing clutter from your work space and your home will allow one to be calmer and more productive (ex. Marie Kondo, Karen Kingston). Others, such as Mihaly Csikszentmihaly in his book ‘Flow’, argue that what might appear as clutter to one, may actually be stimulation and inspiration for others. And another great mind takes this stance: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Albert Einstein

Indeed, there are stories of Leonardo da Vinci (a tidy, controlling, prolific and brilliant artist) who apparently used to mock Michelangelo for his very messy, chaotic studio (in which he produced phenomenal masterpieces).

Alexander McQueen & Studio

Personally, if I have a day where I need to be productive, the ‘tidy up the clutter’ approach works best: turn off email, make lists, clear the workspace, set a time for each task, etc. However, if I’m in the throws of a creative endeavour, such as writing, creating a workshop, cooking, or working in the garden, I surround myself with the makings, references, books/articles, colour and tools – probably the ‘messy chaotic’ look to the outsider.

So here are a few examples on the pros and cons of Consistency:

 “Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.” Oscar Wilde

 “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers and divines.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.” Aldous Huxley

 Okay fellas, we get your point. Consistency sounds like mindless drudgery, taking a straight narrow path that leads to a pinpoint. Here are some opposing pundits:

 “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” Anthony Robbins

 “Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your promises, or do not make them.” Roy T. Bennett

 “Consistency is the belt that fastens excellence in position. If you don’t do it repeatedly, you’ll not excel in it.” Israelmore Ayivor

 Much like the peace-making on the clutter controversy, can we say that consistency and discipline lead us to productivity and accomplishment, and that NOT locking into a pre-conceived path (ie having the flexibility and agility to reformulate plans as we go) leaves us open to possibility?!

What say ye?! Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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