The Value Of Consistency

Chess has always been a favorite game for me. I had not played in years until recently when my younger daughter, Sydney, expressed interest in the game. At 7 she is quite good. Her understanding of the object of the game and how to capture an opponent's pieces are admirable. On a few occasions when I have been just "moving pieces" she has made some brilliant moves. Her greatest barrier to improvement at this point? Consistency.

Sydney will move a piece on the board and then change her attention to something in the room or start a conversation that has nothing to do with chess. For the moment she is looking at one move she is fine. Finished with the move, she stops focusing on the game... and loses in both the short term and the long term.

I have to laugh because many adults (including me) have a similar problem. We lack consistency in how we approach our day, week and sometimes, even our life. We might accomplish one brilliant task like finishing a project at work, but then we waste 20-30 minutes mindlessly reacting to e mail. We have a healthy diet all day, but then blow it with a bag of snack mix just before bedtime (guilty as charged). We spend quality time mentoring one co-worker, but then verbally snap at another colleague just moments later.

Like Sydney's dilemma with chess, there are some simple solutions to improve her consistency. Things like coaching her to stay focused on the task at hand, stopping to ask about the value of the action to be taken, removing distractions and making sure we are playing at the right time, when she has the mental stamina to play a full game of chess (she is only 7 years old).

What are some things you can do in your day to improve your consistency in "making the right moves?" Your improvement at work and life depend on it.

Jones Loflin