“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine…it is lethal.”
My longtime friend and colleague, Craig Keaton, posted this in social media the other day as I was making my notes on this piece.
I love this quote…
and yet, it isn’t the full story.
I’ve had rituals, routines, habits
that have enhanced the quality of my life –
even perpetuated my life.
I’m sure you have, too.
That is often the purpose of routine –
to make the act of doing something that is good for us
easy, mindless, unconscious.
These routines didn’t start as a ritual.
They started as a single repetition.
We intentionally practice repetition in order
to acquire or restore a function.
The nature of repetition is such
that each successive repetition
is easier than the previous.
Our repetitions reshape us
transforming our form
into our function.
while the solution to restoring function can be repetition,
not all functions are (eu)functional, some are dysfunctional…
and repetition can be how we get bad at things, as well.
Repetition is the solution
but repetition is the problem, too.
Each repetition brings us closer to being unconscious
no longer knowing if what we are doing
is functional or dysfunctional.
Not only that, but
once things are unconscious
we don’t think while about what we’re doing
while we’re doing it…
missing out on the opportunity to do it better.
Nothing in the universe is stagnant.
The only constant is change.
To take that to its logical conclusion on a biological level,
If you’re not getting better,
you’re getting worse.
How can we apply the solution of repetition
but keep it from becoming the problem?
Consider perpetual progress.
Each time we do something that is good for us,
we get more than before.
We do that by coming to our lives
with a question,
Can I do this better than before?
And we test to see if we can do it
and if we can, how we can do more than before?
Reflect on the tasks you are performing.
Did you do it better than before?
Because if you didn’t,
then consider it wasn’t good for you to do
or you weren’t mindful of the progress that could have been made.
So the next time you’re doing the same old thing,
Is it even good for me to do this?
If so, can I do this better?
And don’t be surprised if you can…
on both counts.