Wednesday, January 9, 2013

resolution for the new year

"Consistency is the hallmark of excellence". I believe this.

The thing that distinguishes between an amateur and a pro, so say social scientists, is that a professional will play, execute, and perform, to a much higher level of consistency. True for sports, music, art, any field of endeavor, really. And the reason a professional is able to perform so consistently well, is because of all the years (10 years or more!) of practicing to develop mastery. Consistent practice, then consistent execution.

What makes something good, or excellent, then, is its constancy.


Can there be goodness without consistency?

Doesn't being a 'good' person imply holding steady to the same course or same principles? I'm thinking there's got to be a consistency in our patterns of behavior, eh?

But the reality is, I am consistently inconsistent, a truly fallen, natural-mannish creature. An amateur disciple.

Fortunately, for all of us, there is repentance. As long as we are living we are able to establish and re-establish patterns of commitment. That is the beauty, and gift, of time in this life, but also why the repentance process is not such a quick thing. It allows us to prove ourselves and grow new habits.

But when we think of someone who is unaffectedly 'good', isn't it their steadfastness and consistency to right living the very thing that we respect and admire and inspires us to lead better lives?

In my mind there can be no goodness without consistency. I can't be willy-nilly wavering, one day being kind and the next being a mean, raving banshee. I'm either kind or mean. My consistency in displaying either, shows what I am. My lack of consistency means I am not good but an amateur. I need more practice.

That's kind of what character is: doing the right thing naturally, because a person has done it over a long period of time. Reflexive Righteousness*.

It's my great frustration to not be able to always manage my life so that I'm always steady. Which is why the sacrament is so needed and so soothing to me. If we're willing to hear the truth about our self, the Spirit will point out areas of carelessness and inconsistency and will also empower us with the strength needed to act in a better way.

I would like my life to offer more consistent proof of goodness of heart and strength of mind. This is a New Year's Resolution that I'm sure to fail at, but it's important to my growth that I at least try.

*A term coined by Neal A. Maxwell

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