by Jordan McGowan
“90% percent of life is showing up.” -Woody Allen
I didn’t coin this, but I’ve lived by it.
Consistently showing up is one of the biggest keys to success in many areas of my life. From my education to martial arts, by simply showing up I have already won far more than half the battle.
What follows is a reliable 3 part formula for success in any area:
Attendance + Participation + Consistency = Mastery
This is the first and most important component of the success formula. If you commit to this piece, the momentum is already in your favor.
By attendance I mean “showing up”. Showing up means putting yourself physically in a specific location relative to what you are trying to learn or accomplish. Going to class in school, going to church, or going to martial arts class, all these put me in a position to be influenced and changed by that environment.
While preparation, practice and homework are all vital, in between all those is the foundation that makes them even relevant, actually showing up.
Now you’ve got attendance. For the sake of argument lets assume you have made a commitment to always put yourself in the room, whatever that room is, no matter what. You’re 90% there, but not there yet. Imagine a basketball team showing up at the arena, putting their jerseys on, going out on the floor and then not participating in the game. Some of you may feel like your favorite team actually plays this way, but nonetheless it’s a ridiculous notion. While I would say that this fictional basketball team team has won 90% of the battle by showing up, it’s ultimately meaningless if there is no participation.
This seems obvious, and it is, but it’s easier than it appears to slip into this mentality. Use class in college as an example. There are many university students that “show up” but don’t participate. They’re on the court but not really playing the game. Participation get’s us from 90% to about 98.4%. But there is one more element to this formula, and this is the “secret sauce” of success.
Putting yourself in a certain place at a certain time and participating must be coupled with consistency.
You must show up and participate again and again. You came once, that’s great, every journey of a million miles starts with one step, now repeat.
One of my most difficult classes in college was Neuroscience. Sometimes the concepts weren’t so much complex as they were dense, involving a lot of memorization. My overarching approach to this class was putting myself in front of the material as often as possible. Mostly that meant not skipping class, but additionally that meant attending every supplemental instruction session that was offered, and participating in study groups. Even if I didn’t ask questions or make meaningful contributions to these meetings every time, I was still in the room where someone was talking about the material.