Consistency as Strategy for Life
Our Prophet (peace be upon him) said “The most beloved of the actions near Allah (swt) are those that are consistent, even if they are small.” Nothing can represent this better than the life of the Companions (or the Sahaba) of the Prophet.
Every good action which Islam preached, though not easy to practice in the harsh and rugged environment, was so seamlessly adopted and consistently performed, that it eventually became the habit of these noble men and women alike. Small habits of greeting each other with the word of ‘Salaam’ and a smile on the face, caring for neighbors, selflessness, and many more small changes in their lives transformed them from uncultured desert-dwellers to sophisticated gentlemen whose biographies are read and re-read to learn from them.
We all desire to succeed in our endeavors. It may be achieving good grades in school, or performing well in our career, or having to imbibe a good habit in our life. All these require action which has to be performed not just once or twice, but consistently over a period of time until the pinnacle is reached or, to put it straight, until this action becomes a habit.
However, most of us break down, lose hope and give up even before crossing that bridge which separates our current selves from the person we desire to be, only because the results are not visible. But the Sahaba did not give up when they had to go hungry.
Results are not seen immediately when we start melting ice by supplying heat to it at low temperatures. There is no significant change visible in its state, until a certain point. Once the desired temperature is reached, which is an insignificant one-degree rise, the matter changes from the solid to liquid state. Similar is an inspirational story of the British cyclists who had been constantly losing before a few small changes were made by their coach which, when consistently implemented, brought about great results.
It was hundred years and up that the British cyclists had won a medal. They had gone down the trajectory by consistently underperforming, and had not won a single medal in any of the biggest cycling events. So much so, that even the top bike manufacturers in Europe refused to sell them bikes as they were afraid that it would bring down their sales.
When Mr.Brails Ford took over as the coach, he transformed the team entirely. He focused on making marginal changes in every aspect of the team’s bicycle gear, like redesigning the bike seats to make them more comfortable, changing the fabric of the racing suits, testing different types of massage gels for faster recovery of muscles etc.
Brails Ford also made sure that every athlete was fit and in a position to perform their best during races by providing them good routine in diet and sleep. With all these small and consistent changes, within a span of five years, they dominated the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by winning almost 60% of the gold medals available.
Four years later, at the London Olympic Games, they raised the bar by setting nine Olympic records and seven world records. Clearly, the small changes Brails Ford imposed compounded over time to produce what was widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.