Man is a sum of his habits. We’re guided and influenced by our habits more than we’d care to admit. Personal hygiene, capacity for hard work and moral integrity are all shaped by deeply ingrained,sometimes even unconscious, habits. Each of us is nothing but a mass of habits. Most of us associate this word with antisocial “bad habits” like smoking or alcoholism. However there are several patterns of behaviour which if cultivated lead to a more productive and fruitful life: being courteous to others, daily exercise, attempting to avoid lies, getting up by 5:30 AM, frugal eating habits and so on.
This leads to the obvious question of how to modify unproductive habits, and more fundamentally, asking how habits are formed. The answer is Repetition. As Scott Adams says, the human brain is like a moist robot and can be reprogrammed by introducing it to new habits. According to Robin Sharma, any action committed unfailingly for 21 days becomes a habit. Repetition is a powerful tool to influence and modify one’s deepest characteristics. It is the means to proactively be the CAUSE for one’s nature.
Repetition, or performing a certain set of actions periodically, may seem monotonous, tiresome and exhausting. However, the greatest experts in diverse fields owe their success to meticulous application and practice over several decades. Rahul Dravid is an international legend due to the unremitting hours he practiced to perfect his batting technique. And practice is nothing but a form of repetition.
Ancient Indian rishis and munis learnt and propagated Vedic teachings through chants or “mantras”. These were always understood and internalized through frequent and regular chanting. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Repetition was a cornerstone of Vedic education.
In modern times, number tables are learnt in school through repeating them endlessly till they’re burnt in the brain. This knowledge tremendously expands one’s analytical and reasoning abilities, and enables mental arithmetic(sadly, a disappearing skill). There are certain
Repetition is also a common literary device welcome in an age of information overload. It is used to convey information clearly, drive home a point or emphasize sartorial style. James Bond’s ubiquitous vodka martini is also a form of repetition. Even bodybuilding is based on repeating increasingly difficult exercises at regular intervals.
Repetition is not easy. It requires tremendous self-discipline and willpower. Yet the funny thing is that once habits are formed; by the inherent nature of habits, little further effort is required to keep them. Hence the phrase “he keeps regular habits”.