A consistent person, in thoughts, don’t have any logical contradictions in her reasoning. To be consistent in actions, on the other hand, is to have them follow a estabilished pattern. The ultimate consistency is to have both your thoughts and your actions on the same track.
Consistency has it’s place in life. It’s important, for example, to show results in work with a regularity. It’s important to hit the threadmill everyday, and not just once per month. A math theory will crumble at the slightest lack of consistency.
But it’s not for everything. Let’s just take some time to examine how hard it is the task of being a truly consistent person:
First, all your opinions can’t conflict with each another, and your arguments can’t end up falling into one of the logical fallacies. Here, the first problem we have is that one has to actually remember the things he has said. And this just doesn’t happen, not for the average man.
Memorizing, spotting this fallacies is possible when you see a transcript of a debate. But it’s much more difficult to examine in real time during a conversation. As it is to see if a previous point of view conflicts with the one you are having now.
Finally, we are never the same person we were a moment ago (nor can we remember that person completely). How to be consistent then?
I think that if you had the ability to really get all of the opinions of a person, like a super brain x-ray, you would realize that all of us carry many inherent conflicts, and live happily without fully realizing them.
Lack of consistency invites creativity, freedom. A famous writer once wrote that
“A foolish consistency is the hobglobin of little minds”
I (think) that what he meant by that is that you are supposed to choose very carefully the things you wish to be consistent about. It may not be important, for example, to be consistent in your opinions on a TV actress – you may like her someday, and deslike her on the next, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s not important to be consistent about the way you do groceries, you can start with the tomatoes today, and onions on another.
A person is allowed to be inconsistent every once in a while, or to change her views subject. I notice that public figures suffer the most from that since people expect them to be entirely consistent, all the time. The point is that content of what someone is saying is more important to be processed than seeing if it matches what was previously said.
It is far more interesting to be consistent in the way you dedicate time following your dreams, whatever they might be. In the same idea, it’s necessary to maintain the same level of expectations in a relationship, or to raise all your kids in the same fashion.
Only you and the priorities you’ve set out can tell what are the things you need to be consistent about.
By the way, in this text, I was consistent in repeating the word ‘consistent’. Not every consistency is valid, see?
[IMAGE: Custumers lining up. Unknown location. image source]