Updated: Jul 6
One of my streaks is to review at least one vocabulary word daily. To accomplish this activity, I usually open the “Dictionary” app on my iPhone and review the word of the day. This streak is 1,698 days old and counting.
Other than dictionary.com, I also have a word of the day sent to me through email. Everyday, I receive a word to review from wordgenius.com. Yesterday the word that popped up in my email inbox was, “perdurable.” This word of the many that I have reviewed caught my attention because of its definition, “enduring continuously, imperishable.” The definition, like clothes in the dryer, kept tumbling around in my head.
Over and over again I repeated the words, “enduring continuously.” What was it about this phrase and this word that caught my attention? After several cycles, it hit me. As I have been on my Streaking journey for the last six years, I have noticed that my streaks endure different circumstances, environmental changes, emotional swings, and physical variability. You name the situation and my streaks have endured. Said in a word the streak is perdurable.
I remember several years ago returning home very late from volunteering to clean up toppled trees in South Carolina after Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc in several cities on the coast. The work was labor intensive and by the end of the day I was spent. The five-hour drive home drained the remaining energy I had for the day.
As I showered, washing the chain sawed wood chips and sawdust down the drain, I thought about the streaks I still had to complete and contemplated whether or not I would. After all, what would it hurt to miss a day of writing a sentence, reading a paragraph, reviewing a vocabulary word, reading a verse of scripture, or saying a simple prayer? It most likely would not hurt; however, it would stop forward momentum and when you stop a fly wheel it requires a massive amount of energy to start it again.
One of my favorite authors, Jim Collins, says it in this way, “Picture a huge, heavy flywheel—a massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds. Now imagine that your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and long as possible. Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first. You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn. You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster, and with continued great effort, you move it around a second rotation. You keep pushing in a consistent direction. Three turns ... four ... five ... six ... the flywheel builds up speed ... seven ... eight ... you keep pushing ... nine ... ten ... it builds momentum ... eleven ... twelve ... moving faster with each turn ... twenty ... thirty ... fifty ... a hundred.
“Then, at some point—breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn ... whoosh! ... its own heavy weight working for you. You’re pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum.”( Collins, Jim. 2001. Good to Great. London, England: Random House Business Books.)
So, I decided that I would keep the streaks alive, after all, how much time or sleep would I be robbed by doing each of these laughably simple activities? Very little. In fact, the whole purpose of law #1: Make it Laughably Simple, is to make it so simple, there is no reason not to do the activity. I went to bed feeling whole, a feeling that is worth the small amount of energy spent.
Streaking is perdurable but not a perpetual motion machine. To keep the flywheel of your life turning, you need small pushes every day, week or month. There are those who would want you to believe that repeated activities will one day be automatic; however, that would a violation of law, “Perpetual motion, although impossible to produce, has fascinated both inventors and the general public for hundreds of years. The enormous appeal of perpetual motion resides in the promise of a virtually free and limitless source of power. The fact that perpetual-motion machines cannot work because they violate the laws of thermodynamics has not discouraged inventors and hucksters from attempting to break, circumvent, or ignore those laws.” (https://www.britannica.com/science/perpetual-motion)
When you want to keep the flywheel of your life turning toward who you want to be, or you want to be perdurable, you need to complete conscious, consistent, and consecutive pushes or, said in a word, streak.