Jeremy Côté


Showing Up On the Nth Day

It’s easy to put a big effort in one day. Yes, it takes effort, but it’s not overly difficult. If you wanted, you could write for the whole day, or run for three hours, or practice a musical instrument. When it’s just one day, it’s no big deal, right?

Of course one day is easy. The situation is both finite in nature and approachable. Yes, it may suck to do it, but a day isn’t going to kill you. You can count down the hours in a day without too much trouble.

The bigger challenge, then, is to show up the next day. And the subsequent one. And the one after that. (Particularly, when no one but you seems to care about your effort.)

When the scope of the commitment increases from one day to the nth day, there is inherent uncertainty in the proposition. It may feel like the commitment is never going to end, or that it will eventually seem like just another chore to complete every day.

These are legitimate concerns. However, we need to remember what we are trying to accomplish. Yes, showing up every day is difficult. Yes, it can seem like you’re finishing the goal for today only to have to show up yet again the next day. This is all true, and it can look grim.

But, we aren’t making a commitment because we have nothing better to do. Our commitment shows that we love what we do, and we want to work on becoming better with the best method we know: slow, steady improvement. We use that slow improvement curve to show up every day with an average of moderate effort, since any singular large effort will be smoothed out over time. Therefore, it’s not easy to show up every day, but it is a heck of a lot easier than putting in big efforts every day.

If we want to hone our skills in our craft, we have to be willing to show up on the nth day. That’s the recipe for success. Showing up and doing your work every day will slowly bring you to where you want to be.