The Magic Penny — Why Steady, Consistent Effort Always Wins

Thank you so much for joining The Body Mechanic Blog. I hope you enjoy it, and enjoy this journey into health and fitness! As always, please share any post to those that could benefit from the information. Now, on to the topic of the day…

Let’s face it. If you want to move past your chronic pain, or get into shape, or learn a foreign language, the most important actions are the Steady, Consistent Actions. If you simply commit to making regular investments of time towards your health, then what physical or mental condition can you not overcome? Answer, NO ONE KNOWS. So I am trying to encourage you to take the steps you know you should take, and to do this consistently. In every case that we know of, the person that is in it for the long haul; the one that makes no excuses; the one that insists on showing up every day; the one that considers great health to be not optional, not merely important, but IMPERATIVE! That is the person that is destined to achieve whatever she sets her mind to. For this person, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be stopped. For everyone else…well…

OK, everyone knows we live in an “I want it now” generation. Almost every one of us falls victim to this mentality. However, all of us must understand that the real key to reaching a goal — any goal — is steady, consistent effort, mapped out over a long period of time. I began learning this in sports at a young age, but it really began to hit home when I started my study of Kung Fu in 1987. I remember asking my instructor how long it would take to get good at this art. His reply was, “If you study and train hard, then it will take you 10 years”. Ten years?? I was 21 at the time. This meant that I would be 31 years old before I could call myself “good” at Kung Fu! This is where I learned to become process oriented. This is the true meaning of Mastery. Steady, consistent effort over a long period of time. In fact, that is pretty much the meaning behind the word, Kung Fu.

Now, if you have worked with me personally to heal an injury or balance your body (and you know who you are ☺), chances are you have at some point complained that you should be further along. Or, you became discouraged because you didn’t realize progress as quickly as you wanted. But, what happened when you hung in there and kept on working at reaching our goals? I will continue to say that most conditions can be overcome given steady, consistent effort. It doesn’t matter if it is a torn hamstring, plantar fasciitis, or rotator cuff tear. It will yield to consistent effort!

The magic penny is a stupendous demonstration of how steady, consistent effort beats immediate gratification. So, here is the question: If you were given a choice between taking $3 million in cash right now and taking a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you take? Now be honest with yourself. If you have heard of the “magic penny” demonstration, then you already know the doubling penny wins. But how?

Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, in his book, “The Compound Effect”, explains it this way. Let’s say you take the cash and your friend goes the penny route. On day 5, your friend has 16 cents. On day 10, your friend only has $5.12. After 20 days, with only 11 days left in this race, your friend still only has $5,243 to your $3 million. That is a huge difference after 20 full days!

Now, the magic really starts to show itself. By continuing to double each day, your friend turns that single penny into $10,737,418.24 on day 31. That is more than 3 times your $3 million!

The same principle works when you are trying to improve any aspect of yourself. The early going seems almost insignificant, and is very tough. You might even say that the early going is the price of admission, and it tends to weed out those that are not qualified to earn the reward. But suddenly, all that compounding effort shows up in a big way. I have proven this to myself over the years with various chronic injuries and with learning skills. You must understand that most people will give up after a short effort because they won’t see results quickly enough. All of this reminds me of a quote from Ross Perrot:“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.” Remember this whenever you are ready to quit.

Until next time…

To Your Health!