While writing about stand-up comedy last week, I came across an interesting Lifehacker article that used a chance meeting with Jerry Seinfeld to pose a solution to a problem that many people, both funny and otherwise, grapple with as they struggle to improve themselves.
Don’t break the chain.
Practice every day. Coaches say it. Teachers say it. And everyone knows that in order to excel in an area, one needs to do it every day. Easier said than done, this is true. But the fact remains…aside from spontaneously generating superstar talent overnight, it’s the only way.
Brad Isaac, a software developer and blogger, managed to extract a nugget of wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld. When Seinfeld was asked for the best piece of advice for an aspiring comedian, he responded
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
There’s too much momentum in our lives that carries us away from our goals, distractions that require supreme effort to do anything consistently. The big red X’s will give you a visual affirmation that you’re making progress.
There’s even a free online calender (dontbreakthechain.com) built specifically to provide you that extra bit of motivation to keep plugging away.