Saturday, November 25, 2006

Curious about Repetition: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.” - Mortimer Adler, philosopher

Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” - Napoleon Hill, writer

Way back in 1988 I became involved with selling a pricey goal setting program. When I purchased my copy, I learned the value of “spaced repetition.” (Note: “Spaced repetition is the key to permanent internalization of ideas. Just as you didn't learn the ABCs the first time you heard them, it takes time and repetition for the mind to accept and embrace any new idea or concept.”)

I followed the directions, listened to the tapes for each lesson, twice a day for seven days. Even though I didn’t continue selling the program for more than two years, I can honestly attest to the fact that listening to those tapes changed my life. I am still listening to tapes, CDs, and MP3s of teleseminars, etc.

Yes, I am a strong proponent of the power of repetition. We just have to make sure that we are repeating the “good stuff” and not the “bad stuff.” I have discovered that bad habits seem to take more time and repetition to break than good habits take to develop. We do have to get rid of the bad habits, however, to make room for the good ones.

Let’s look at how the experts feel about useful and good repetition:
  • We cannot always control our thoughts, but we can control our words, and repetition impresses the subconscious, and we are then master of the situation.” - Jane Fonda, actress
  • Constant repetition carries conviction.” - Robert Collier, publisher
  • Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” - Elizabeth Arden, businessperson
  • It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” - Muhammad Ali, athlete
  • Repetition is based on body rhythms, so we identify with the heartbeat, or with walking, or with breathing.” - Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer

The other side: those who dislike repetition for various reasons:

  • But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.” - David Herbert Lawrence, musician
  • I hate repetition and I love challenges, and that is why I've jumped from newspapers to magazines to books to television to radio to public speaking.” - Dick Schaap, journalist
  • There are all sorts of reasons why I don't do much work in the theatre, the main one being that after two performances I feel I've given all I can. I hate repetition, I really do. It's like asking a painter to paint he same picture every day of his life.” - Peter Cushing, actor
  • I have to feel that each thing I've learned I can push to another point next time. I'm not very good with repetition. I would rather not work than feel that repetition is the order of the day.” - Twyla Tharp, dancer

Repetition with a twist:

  • Happiness is the longing for repetition.” - Milan Kundera, writer
  • Constant repetition of tongue-twisters was like lifting weights for me, but patience and persistence have paid off.” - Nicholas Brendon, actor
  • The power of ads rests more in the repetition of obvious exhortations than in the subtle transmission of values.” - Michael Schudson, sociologist
  • In the old days, physicists used to repeat each other's experiments, just to be sure. Now they repeat each other's mistakes, fully automated repetition!” - Edsger Dijkstra, scientist

How do you use repetition? Is it working for or against you? Have you broken a bad habit and then have back later to start it up - I see this often with those who have lost weight. What do you repeat that makes you happy and does enhance your life and personal development?

And, for you to think about this coming week:

The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.” - Ernest Dimnet, clergyman

You affect your subconscious mind by verbal repetition.” - W. Clement Stone, businessman