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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Stop Trying to be Consistent

Photo courtesy of 98bucksocial on Flickr

That’s right, I said it. Stop trying to be consistent. As a society, we have become obsessed with the idea of consistency in nearly every aspect of our lives. What most people do not understand is that consistency is not always a virtue.

From politics to the workplace and social situations, society has become unhealthily enamored with the concept of consistency, but to be frank, it is not all that it is chalked up to be. You’ll hear it all the time that you need to be consistent, but I’d argue that it is far better to be inconsistent.

Being consistent is something that the human psyche is simply not built for. Emphasizing it in the workplace, politics, or even in relationships only does those involved a disservice and limits their ability to grow and change.

Consistency is a social construct that forces you to stay in your lane. Change is something that is fundamental to the human experience, and the idea of consistency is inherently opposed to that.

Should we all eat the same food every day? 

Should we all play the same video game every day?

Should people read the same book for the rest of their lives?

Should I write the same kinds of articles for every edition?

Should a musician practice the same song every day?

The answer to all of these questions is no.

People mistakenly see the successes of other people and believe that they got there because of consistency, but that is simply not true. They got to where they were because they are reliable and adaptable. In order to be successful, you don’t need consistency. In fact, consistency is exactly how you land in a dead-end job that makes you miserable.

As Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Does a businessman do the same thing every day? No

Does a politician do the same thing every day? No

Does an actor do the same thing every day? no

Yes, there should be some level of consistency so that your behavior isn’t just completely incoherent and erratic, but you should not be beholden to that concept. You should not be aiming for consistency in your daily life.

In the realm of politics, you will see significant backlash for anyone who changes their views on specific issues. People criticized President Biden for his views in the 70s on integrated school bussing or President Obama’s former view on gay marriage, and rightly so. The problem arises when these views are held above their heads 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years later, even when they clearly do not have the same beliefs.

Our political culture places an oddly strange emphasis on how people should have consistent beliefs and that any change is either dishonest or that person is a hypocrite. 

You should not be “consistent” in your beliefs. Instead, follow what you believe in the moment, even if it contradicts what you once believed. To have an active mind, you are constantly putting yourself through the Socratic method to arrive at a better understanding of the world. As such, you are constantly changing and evolving over time.

The idea of “consistency is key” is a flawed mindset that does not understand the dynamic nature of human existence. Not to sound too poetic, but being consistent is just a way of imprisoning the mind and preventing you from truly interacting with the world. 

Consistency is a concept created by the intellectually lazy to keep the intellectually active from realizing their full potential.

It’s a concept that rewards the people who only eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese and say their favorite show is The Office or Stranger Things. The only way you can grow is through what is essentially a constant process of trial and error, so don’t limit yourself to the same trial over and over again.

There obviously needs to be some level of consistency in your everyday life. You need to eat, drink, sleep, and (hopefully) shower every day, but you should not be beholden to the concept of consistency to the point where it limits you from doing and experiencing new things.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.–‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’–Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” 

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