I get bored when I have to repeat things. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, so I thought I’d look at the positive and negative of having to repeat something over and over.
We learn through repetition
Good or bad, we establish patterns of behavior by repeating them. Good or bad, we also establish a pattern of beliefs by repeating them. Repetition can turn into unconsciousness.
Not repeating is about exploring
I love to learn and that means I’m constantly exploring and trying out new things. Can you see my dilemma? How do I balance the need to repeat in order to learn something and the need to explore in order to learn something?
This question arose when I was asked a question I’d explored and answered years previously. I started to write a post about it and immediately knew it was old stuff that I didn’t want to go over again. It was an exceedingly strong and negative reaction to repeating stuff I’d already figured out.
That’s why I only “teach” in snippets, posts and vLogs and short booklets that explore one idea. I have taught long courses. It’s a fabulous way to learn something, but I no longer want to go into that much detail. My call. My choice. My adventure.
Are you an explorer or a detail person?
I am not a detail person, I’m an overview person. It’s an important distinction. It explains why I have all these nearly finished books – the exploration and creation part is much more interesting than the fine-tuning and technical steps necessary to publish. It actually presents a problem I have to solve.
Repetition is how you see it
I write every day – a lot. That’s a repeated process but an ever-new exploration. I read and study and take courses. That’s repetition but I’m always learning. And each time I repeat the craft of my writing, I become better at it. Each time I open myself to learning something new, I broaden my awareness.
But I don’t like to repeat what I learn too many times. I want to move on.
The boredom factor
Everything is repetitive. How boring it gets depends on how we view it. Performing a repetitive function in manufacturing would feel confining to me because after a while the learning opportunity becomes non-existent. And yet I’ve worked in offices where there are unchanging, repetitive cycles. The focus simply has a bit broader range.
I think that once we’ve mastered something, some of us get bored and want to test ourselves more, learn more, expand to another level.
How bored are you?
You may be happy as a clam doing what you’re doing and that’s great. You may be restless and not be sure why. That takes some looking at.
If you had the freedom to do whatever you wanted to do, what would that be? Can you find a way to put some experience of that in your life?
How do you demonstrate repetition?
I demonstrate repetition by putting out content. The form varies, but for me, I’ve figured out that short is good. I can complete it and let it go. And yet, I’m spending a lot of time exploring shamanism. The operative word there is “exploring.” Then I creatively adapt what I choose to use and write short insights about what I figure out.
We repeat in both unconscious and conscious steps.
Repetition and retelling
Repetition means retelling. I like that. We learn something, absorb it, adapt it and use it in a manner that suits us. I constantly retell my version of what I figure out. But the major pull for me is the “figuring out” part.
We inquire, we choose, we learn, we repeat in some version – either staying close to what we learn or moving off into our own version.
Are you bored with repetition?
I remember a friend in college who worked as a flagman in construction during the summer. He spent his time memorizing poetry that he loved. And one of my sons cut the grass in intricate patterns rather than in string rows in order to keep himself entertained. It took a lot longer but he made a creative experience out of it.
How do you relieve the boredom of a repetitive action? It could be as simple as learning the words to a new song as you clean your kitchen. Or consciously stretching and bending as you make your bed. What are you bored with and how would you spice it up?
I have to look at “technical day” as a change of pace, an adventure, an opportunity to master a technique. I must let it become an exercise in sharing, in completing, in crossing a finishing line.
Examine the things you repeat, particularly the unconscious actions. Become mindful of them and make new choices to make them more conscious.
Look at the actions you regularly repeat. How can you streamline them to become more effective? What do you need to stop doing? Let your emotions tell you when both your inner and outer work are in alignment and are supportive of your personal path.
How do you view repetition?
To Sing a Deeper Song Consider: