Here's what you can learn from badminton champion Sai Praneeth on how to build consistency
Image Courstsey: Telangana Today
“I finally got the monkey off my back,” said B Sai Praneeth following his Singapore Open win in April 2017. This maiden victory makes the 24-year-old badminton player only the fourth Indian to come away with a Superseries title, but Praneeth isn’t resting on his laurels. Instead, he is working on his “lack of consistency” by concentrating on his fitness levels and practising hard.
Whether you’re playing on court or working in a company, consistency is what will eventually define your success. Praneeth, for instance, has always played a good game. But despite having talent, without consistent effort he’s been unable to accomplish great results until now, says his coach Pullela Gopichand. “If you look at his career, Praneeth has some big wins. He has the quality but he needs the consistency,” Gopichand has said.
Why is consistency important?
The best way to explain this is with the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise works steadily every day, but the hare accomplishes more because he is more talented than the tortoise. However, the hare is lazy and slacks off, so in the end it is the steady tortoise that wins the race.
At work, being consistent allows you to:
• Measure the effectiveness of new initiatives, processes and organisational structures. By trying something new in a consistent manner over a certain time period, you can decide if it works or not.
• Hold people accountable. It becomes easier for employees to follow through when there is a systematic and consistent method in place. Also, consistency in your leadership style will serve as a model for how employees will behave.
• Maintain a good track record and build a solid reputation.
Consistency eventually adds up to more work done, and therefore, in the long-term, will give you lasting results that you can be truly proud of.
How to be more consistently, consistent
Becoming a consistently high performer isn’t easy, especially since we’re all prone to procrastination, getting side tracked and stuck on unproductive tasks. But the good news is, you can train yourself to be consistently, consistent. Here’s how:
First, make sure you #LoveWhatYouDo
Praneeth was only 8-years-old when his aunt, a national level player herself, introduced him to badminton. He fell in love with the sport instantly.
Your takeaway: It's always easier to be constant if you #LoveWhatYouDo or at least like what you are doing every week. So find what suits you best.
Set a routine
Coach Gopichand's advice to his players has been practice hard every day. Praneeth, whose daily routine includes five hours of practice, proves that indeed is a mantra for success.
Your takeaway: Set up a consistent routine like, say, a morning ritual, which can give order and structure to the rest of your day.
#GoOutAndBe, even if you are not in the mood
Praneeth’s most challenging task was letting go of fears caused by the frequent injuries that impacted his game. Sports psychologist Mridu Sharma helped him push past his mental barriers and take action.
Your takeaway: At times, you want to do something, but your mind will find reasons not to. Instead of over-thinking the situation or remaining paralysed by doubts, force yourself to just act. This can help you build a positive momentum, which in turn will help you progress much faster.
Focus on the process, not the results
Discipline and regimentation are key to success, according to Coach Gopichand, who makes all his students train hard, day in and day out. Being committed to his daily practice helped Praneeth give what he calls "the best performance of my career" at the Singapore Open.
Your takeaway: Don't stress about results, instead be fully engaged in the task at hand. You're more likely to stay motivated and get better results from consistent action.
Let go of old self images
Frequent injuries, his inability to win matches and rise in the rankings led Praneeth to doubt his abilities. He admits he had a confidence issue, caused by his frequent losses.
Your takeaway: Don't dwell on your past failures. Instead, build a consistent self-image that focuses on your successes.
The one thing that separates successful people from the rest is their ability to deliver sustained excellence. So get inspired by Praneeth’s success to work towards a consistently high performance today!