Habit is the beneficent harness of routine which enables silly men to live respectfully and unhappy men to live calmly. – George Eliot
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; ‘these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions’; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: ‘the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life… for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy. – Will Durant
It has been about two weeks since I have published a blog post. Running into my first case of writer’s block has given me a few things to think about. I have come to realize that my writing habits need improving. My habits, regarding a lot of things, need improving. This does not necessarily mean that I am beating myself up. I have a lot of great qualities and habits, as well, even in my writing. But there are always improvements that can be made.
Something I have felt for quite some time is that I need to establish more routine in my life. I have tended to be the type of person who just sort of goes with the flow, the proverbial free spirit. The free spirit approach has led to a lot of awesome things in my life: travel, interesting conversations, and an open mind. I have always strived to be flexible in my approach to life, and I think that is a great quality, but that approach is not without its flaws. I often procrastinate, flutter from idea to idea or goal to goal, leave details unattended to, and simply forget things. I do not always keep my eye on the ball, and I have often been irresponsible and reckless.
I am in need of more routine in my life, that is apparent. The thing that has always made me shy from routine, though, is that I have seen in other people some negative effects from the overuse of routine. I have known people who have missed out on a lot of things in life because it broke from their sense of responsibility. Their habits would keep them from being open to new experiences, meeting people, and even living out their dreams and going after what they desired. I have witnessed first hand how routine can keep you from seeing what is there, right in front of our own eyes: the miracle of being alive.
Something I have learned in the course of studying martial arts over the years is that balance is the key to everything. Going too far in any direction is never the answer. For every day there has to be night. Equilibrium is what makes a thing functional, even a life. Balance does not necessarily mean that everything exists in equal portions, but it is that sweet spot where things just “work”. Leaning to live a balanced life does not mean I have to give up who I am or fight against my nature, it just means that I need to grow into a more complete me. Someone like me who tends to take the free spirit approach to life could use a healthy dose of routine and a greater sense of responsibility; conversely, a very routine minded person honestly should learn to ease up a bit and relax and be more flexible.
So, from this point on, I am going to try to implement more routine into my approach to life. I am going to continue to be true to myself and be a free spirit, but even rigidly keeping to that is a bit of a paradox. Confucius said that “only the wisest and stupidest men never change.” I am neither the wisest or the stupidest of men, so I vow to grow. I am going to do what it takes to live out my dreams and be the person I want to be. I am going to be happy, because life is too short and far too precious for anything else.
It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it. – John Steinbeck
I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles. – Zig Ziglar