Power of Repetition
The power of repetition is colossal, unleashing benefits we’d otherwise not see. Repetition holds the key to unlocking mastery, conquering daunting tasks, and cultivating lasting habits.
Mastery Through Repetition
Just as a skilled craftsperson hones their expertise through repeated practice, individuals and teams alike thrive when immersed in the cycle of repetition. Imagine a musician mastering a complex piano piece or an athlete refining their sports technique. With each repetition, neural pathways strengthen, creating a well-worn mental map that transforms the once-daunting task into second nature.
Of course, this isn’t just about individuals. Bands, sports teams, and collaborative initiatives understand the power of collective repetition. They rehearse, practice, and iterate to reach the pinnacle of their craft. The collective skillset deepens, molding novices into seasoned experts. If something is important to you, commit to repeatedly spending time on it—every day, every week. Robert Greene in Mastery says,
When it comes to mastering a skill, time is the magic ingredient. Assuming your practice proceeds at a steady level, over days and weeks certain elements of the skill become hardwired. Slowly, the entire skill becomes internalized, part of your nervous system. The mind is no longer mired in the details, but can see the larger picture. It is a miraculous sensation and practice will lead you to that point, no matter the talent level you are born with.
In Flow, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi says for that transformative experience one must be clear about the goals. “Before investing great amounts of energy in a goal, it pays to raise the fundamental questions: Is this something I really want to do? Is it something I enjoy doing? Am I likely to enjoy it in the foreseeable future? Is the price that I—and others—will have to pay worth it?” He continues,
If goals are well chosen, and if we have the courage to abide by them despite opposition, we shall be so focused on the actions and the events around us that we won’t have the time to be unhappy. And then we shall directly feel a sense of order in the warp and the woof of life that fits every thought and emotion into a harmonious whole.
If you want to master writing, the most important thing is find a way to write regularly. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron has famously encouraged people to do “Morning Pages,” simply writing three pages every day as a life-changing activity. If you’re consistent in a habit, like writing, and stick with it over time (even if you miss here and there), it becomes more and more automatic.
You may want to learn to make a great croissant. You commit to 20 attempts, follow recipes, watch videos, ask for help from people who know how. By the twentieth time, you are probably making a pretty damned good croissant!
Steady progress towards monumental goals
Colossal undertakings can be overwhelming. But repetition offers a reassuring strategy. By splitting huge objectives into manageable steps and consistently repeating these actions, progress makes a steady march. These incremental steps bring us closer to our goals. Whether it’s conquering a daunting project or mastering a new language, the power of repetition turns challenges into achievable milestones.
How do you build and maintain a 2,190 mile walkway through 14 states? The Appalachian Trail’s magic owes gratitude to the unsung heroes: today, that’s 31 clubs and thousands of volunteers. Year after year, each repeated trail-clearing effort, every white blaze placed, a small act in itself, collectively sculpted and today keeps this iconic path. These repetitive actions ensure the trail’s enduring majesty.
Teams confronting global challenges resonate with this approach. Be it reforestation efforts, poverty alleviation, or educational initiatives, the steady rhythm of repetition fosters optimism and resilience, ensuring progress for individuals and collective endeavors alike.
In Manage your Day-to-Day, Gretchen Rubin speaks of harnessing the power of frequency, “We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently.” She describes the power of frequency: it makes starting easier, keeps ideas fresh, keeps the pressure off, sparks creativity, nurtures frequency, fosters productivity. “One of my most helpful secrets is, ‘What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while.’”
Power of Repetition: Cultivating transformational habits
Repetition can create habits, the building blocks of our daily lives. Just as a river shapes its course through consistent flow, repetition ingrains behaviors into our daily routines. Repetition can rewire our brains. We all have a limited amount of will power each day. But after we create a habit, that limited will power can be used somewhere else.Positive habits like exercising, meditating, or reading become second nature, and demand less effort and conscious thought. Conversely, negative habits find their roots in repeated actions also shape our behaviors.
Groups working to better the world understand this transformative power of repetition. Through repeated collaboration, regular brainstorming and evaluation of outcomes, they craft habits that become an integral part of their culture. Repetition is a gentle yet formidable force that shapes our abilities, achievements, and daily routines.
30-day challenges create memorable moments, boost self-confidence, and inspire positive change. 3 min.
Beautiful Trouble: Build strength through repetition
Toolbox: The often underestimated element is the gradual, repetitive work of cultivating a dedicated support base through regular events, which can become a cornerstone of a movement’s growth and culture.
How to practice effectively… for just abut anything. 5 min.
The psychology of repetition. 11 min.
Repetition Power: 100 Ways to Improve the NYC Subway
TIn mid-2013 Randy Gregory announced on his Tumblr site: “For the next 100 Days, I will propose various improvements to the New York City Subway, which in 2012 had 1.6 billion riders, and should be seen as the best subway in the country, if not the world. I’ll be exploring various ideas, from UX, Environmental, Co-Branding, Audio/Visual, and more, including potential interviews with MTA employees.”
Gregory was working on his masters in branding at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. The project also got him featured in publications and blogs, and invited to present his findings.
Generating and illustrating 100 ideas was ambitious. But by consistently repeating the “small manageable tasks,” Gregory created a significant body of work. And he started community conversations about New York’s subway system. Some ideas would cost billions, while others are almost free. Some have probably become reality.
Randy Gregory’s ambitious project turned him into a kind of expert. What would you like to learn? What would you like to accomplish?.
1. Skylights. Why aren’t there more skylights in the station? More light would mean warm spots in the winter, and would be something interesting to look at when waiting for a train. Also, this could help people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Just because we’re underground, doesn’t mean it needs to feel like a cave.
41. Exercise Call to Action. Experience isn’t just about making a system work better, it’s also about making people better. Using data, we can calculate & display how many calories are burned using the stairs and walkways instead of escalators, elevators, and automated paths, and use that data as a call to action to get New Yorkers out there and use the urban gym.
26. Wifi on the trains. It helps in situations when people get stuck on the trains, so they can communicate with their jobs, friends, and family…for example, if you’re on the 1,2, or 3, and the lines get shut down because of a missing inmate. Or, keep track of your tasks/directions as you plan out your busy schedule. Or even watch cat videos on Youtube. Wifi would enable a whole new level of ease on the trains.
“Nearly every weekday morning for a year and a half,” says writer Mason Currey, “I got up at 5:30, brushed my teeth, made a cup of coffee, and sat down to write about how some of the greatest minds of the past four hundred years approached this exact same task—that it, how they made the time of each day to do their best work, how they organized their schedules in order to be creative and productive.”
The result of Currey’s daily ritual is a glimpse at the daily lives of 161 artists, writers, composers, inventors and other creative folks. We learn bits about when they got up, when they ate, when and how they worked.
Work and sleep times are all over the place, with plenty of morning people, and plenty of late night folks. As a child, Isaac Asimov would open his father’s candy store in Brooklyn at six in the morning. “I have kept the candy-store hours all my life. I wake at five in the morning. I get to work as early as I can. I do this every day in the week, including holidays.” And some experiment: For many years, Buckminster Fuller would take a 30 minute nap after each six hours of work. And work habits can change over time. Says Currey, “For her first novel, Interview with a Vampire, [Ann] Rice wrote all night and slept during the day.” Hmmm. But when she had her first child, Rice switched to writing in the day.
It’s remarkable how many of them would break up their day with a long walk. Charles Darwin would take three. Getting away from the work space, outdoors, rumination time. In the end, routine is almost always the foundation for getting stuff done.