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The Consistency Curse

Something That Prevents Success And Overcoming The Curse

By Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.Published 2 months ago 8 min read

How do you become one of the Best in the World at something?

There are a few factors, but one of the most important aspects is Consistency.

If you've followed my work for a while, you will know that I advocate for Consistency ALL the time.

I attribute Consistency to most of my Accomplishments, including the 20 Nominations and Awards I received last year for my work, and the 9 that I have received this year (so far).

To develop Skills, Habits, Creativity, Innovation, and Intuition (all needed for Success) you need to have Consistency in your chosen craft.

I could probably talk your ear off about why Consistency is so great!

However, that isn't my Goal today.

Rather, I want to talk about the Consistency Curse that some people Experience.

While it is absolutely true that Consistency is needed for Success, some people end up finding that Consistency "can" have a dark side when not understood correctly.

They will choose a behavior to do.

Then they will do it again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Days feel monotonous.

Weeks slip by.

Nothing feels like it is Changing.

First, you feel the Boredom.

Then the feelings of Frustration occur.

This Frustration builds and builds.

Sometimes it starts as Anger, but it often turns into Resignment afterward.

You feel like you are in your own personal torture chamber, being prodded at by some Devil or Demon (usually a Leader or a horrible Client/Customer).

You ask a question, "Will this ever end?"

"Am I doomed to this Fate... Forever?"

This is the Consistency Curse.

So why is it that on one hand Consistency can lead to tremendous Success, while on the other it can feel like a Curse?

It all has to do with the Challenge-Skill Ratio.

If you look into Flow Research, you discover that in order to get into Flow States (where we feel our best, do our best work, are most Productive, etc.), you have to understand the Challenge-Skill Ratio.

To unlock Flow, your Challenge needs to be just a "little" bit higher than your current Skill level.

If your Challenge is too large, you end up in Dis-Stress.

If your Challenge is too small, you end up in Boredom.

Flow occurs around a Challenge that is about 4% more difficult than your current Skill level.

So where does the Consistency Curse come into play?

Well, if you read my article yesterday, you would know that from an Energy (Mg-ATP) perspective, Humans are Lazy.

Our bodies will do EVERYTHING in their power to utilize less Energy in whatever activities we do.

So, when you begin to do something Consistency, it begins to form a Habit.

As you Develop a Habit, your body will make it so that you use less Energy to get the same Results.

That means that Consistency makes the task easier to accomplish over time.

However, this causes a problem with the Challenge-Skill Ratio.

At the beginning of doing something Consistently, what will happen is that the Challenge will feel very hard, but your Skill will increase.

As your Skill increases, the Challenge stops "feeling" like a Challenge.

If the Skill gets significantly higher than the Challenge, you start to feel Bored.

That is the beginning of the Consistency Curse.

Your body WANTS to be in Flow States.

Flow is Autotelic, which means that we will do ANY activity that puts us into Flow ONLY for the sake of Flow.

You could not gain ANY other benefit, and the rest of your life could be awful, but you will still want that Flow.

So, if you keep Consistency with the low Challenge level, you stop finding Flow States, and your body HATES it.

That is when the Frustration, Irritation, and Anger come in.

Now, this is where the Consistency Curse gets fascinating.

Something that I always say in my work is that All Stress Adds.

So, as you fail to reach Flow States within that Boredom, you are adding Stressors to your Life.

This can quickly become Dis-Stress and the Challenge JUMPS up quickly becoming significantly more than the Skill level.

Think of it like this.

Say that you start with a Challenge of 5, but your Skill is a 6.

You will feel bored because the Challenge is a lot less than your Skill.

However, as you become Frustrated, the Challenge suddenly becomes a 10 as ALL of the Stressors in your life combine.

Now, your Challenge is WAY over the 4% Flow Zone.

A lot of Energy (Mg-ATP) becomes wasted and your body becomes even MORE angry at you for wasting Energy.

What you begin to understand here is that the Challenge-Skill Ratio changes Daily, and being off can cause a lot of different problems.

Your body may try to compensate to lessen the Energy Waste, but what we often find is that the body discovers immediate Solutions that cause long-term Problems.

Some people will begin hopping from one Skill or Career to another, hoping to find Flow "somewhere" else, where the "grass is greener"...

Only to find more dead grass.

Other people become completely resigned to their Fate and end up in Burnout.

So the question then becomes, how do we Break the Curse?

If you are a fan of the Fantasy genre, you will know that ALL Curses can be broken, and that is true of the Consistency Curse as well.

You have to combat it from a few different angles though.

For most people, right now they are already in Burnout, which means their Challenge is SO HIGH that they can't really reliably Improve their Skills.

So, most people first need to Reduce as much Dis-Stress (especially Stress Damage) as possible.

This is so that you can get the Challenge Level to a feasible place to find Flow States.

Then, you need to find something you want to do Consistently.

If you have done this right (and you may need help with it, there's nothing wrong with that), then you will quickly find your first Flow States with that Consistent behavior.

At this point, you need to pay attention.

If you find yourself becoming Stressed Out, you need to lower your Stressors that day and make the Consistent behavior easier to accomplish.

If you find yourself becoming Bored, you need to find a way to slightly Increase the Challenge until you find the Flow State.

For me today, I was feeling a bit Bored before I got started writing (Yes, this happens to me too!).

So, I created a Challenge for myself - talk about something I think is good in a Negative light, that is also Scientifically Accurate and Beneficial to Leaders.

That was the birth of the Consistency Curse - a way to increase my Challenge.

For some people, it is about choosing to do the Consistent Behavior in a purposefully Difficult way, such as what I did today.

Other times it is about finding something Novel and utilizing that Novel Concept.

This is what I did when I decided I was no longer going to do "Leadership Development" and I began to transition toward Leadership Psychophysiology.

I was looking for Novel ways we could look at Leadership to help people Succeed.

To give context, Leadership Development COMPLETELY FAILS 80% of the time, with only "Limited Success" the rest of the time.

I found that unacceptable and began looking for Novelty in the Approaches to helping Leaders.

Then other times people will increase the Challenge by adding Guidelines, Rules, or Boundaries within their work.

For Instance, this could be something like you chose to ONLY hit 400 words or less.

Another idea could be that you ONLY give yourself 30 minutes to complete the task.

This turns the Consistent Behavior into a Game, which if you follow people who LOVE sports will show you just how intense Humans can get about staying within the Rules that have been established.

There are lots of ways to accomplish Increasing the Challenge to get to 4% above your current Skill Level, but the key is not to make it TOO Challenging to cause you Dis-Stress.

I will also give one more word of caution - no matter how you may Challenge yourself from day to day, ALWAYS maintain a baseline Minimum.

For me, that is a 250-word article published every day (most days I average between 750 - 1,000 and today I'll end around 1,500).

Is 250 a "Challenge" for me?

Absolutely not!

I can think of the Idea, Write, Edit, and Publish 250 words in 30 minutes or less!


I know that there could be a day where "other" Stressors all Add together and I will need to "reduce" my Stress around my Writing so that I can keep my Consistency.

In fact, only a few days ago this happened to me!

That Minimum is not a Chain to keep you Bored, but a Lifeline to help you get to Flow on your worst days.

This is how you overcome the Consistency Curse.

Follow the Challenge-Skill Ratio to find Flow within your Consistent Behavior.

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About the Creator

Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.

Creator of the Multi-Award-Winning Category "Legendary Leadership" | Faith, Family, Freedom, Future | The Legendary Leadership Coach, Digital Writer (450+ Articles), & Speaker


[email protected]

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Comments (2)

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  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    Like Icarus. Too high and he got burnt up by the sun, but he was also warned not to fly too low, else the mist off the ocean would weigh down his wings and he'd drown. 😁

  • Lana V Lynx2 months ago

    This is great advice, Cody. Humans are creatures of (lazy) habits, so we do need to introduce a challenge even to the consistent behaviors.

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