Repetition: Boring But Powerful

I’ve noticed that whenever anyone tells me about their ‘other life’ - for those who believe in reincarnation, their former earthly position was either as priestess or princess. They never suffered the misfortune of operating as a slave or scullery maid. I guess my question should then be, though I’ve never asked it: ok, what terrible thing did you do to deserve such a demotion? The reason I mention this is because most everyone harbors some vision of grandeur, some secret dream that incredible, unexpected goodness is destined to fall on their head. No matter what a rotten day it is, excitement and mystery awaits. I’ve learned that most of life is seriously mundane and that’s, um, just the way it is.

But the things you can learn from repetition! Doing the same thing over again - not because you’re insane, expecting a different result, but because it’s a task on your daily list, and it must get done can yield unlooked for opportunities. Here’s why repetition is so powerful, because it can make you an expert and if you’re observant you will start to see patterns. I take a walk almost every day in Bishop’s Park in London. The former Bishop’s palace is positioned on the back end of the property and it has the most gorgeous walled garden. I began my walks in winter. Obviously, everything was pretty much dead. But I could see potential in the gray, cracked wisteria vines and the seemingly lifeless flower and vegetable beds. By summer the place was a riot of rich color and abundant growth. Walking the path each day I watched as the pansies emerged, when the bees started getting serious about making their honey, when the apple blossoms gave way to little green fruit and when the wisteria sprung into full purple bloom. Then, over the course of a few weeks, the wisteria lost its flowers, one of the bee’s huts was removed and the vegetable garden went crazy. The other day I noticed new blooms on the wisteria vines and the grounds man informed me that’s it's the second blush. Honestly, I never would have noticed their resurgence if I hadn’t been trekking around each day.

Here’s the thing -- and you may be asking yourself how does this apply to business -- repetitive tasks might seem tedious but they can actually lead to excellence.

We celebrate the spectacular but many of the best things in life came from simply doing the same thing over and over again. The Wright Brothers, Newton and the apple, even Einstein all ‘keep at it.’ Their big moment came from a factor of things, not the least of which was going back to the same problem, over and over again. So, if you are tired of doing some of the same things try looking for the patterns, the exceptional in the mundane, you might just find a hidden treasure.