Monday, February 06, 2012

The New Three Rs

I'm no traditionalist, but I do believe in the New Three Rs.

That is, the  New Three Rs  which I see as most relevant to  flourishing and the art of living, namely

  • Repetition
  • Reminders  and
  • Rituals

 The  New  Three Rs can help you develop any practice which would help you live better, including :-

  • Eating more healthily
  • Drinking more healthily
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Yoga
  • Meditating 
  • Having a daily period for reflection
  • Planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Spending quality time with people you value
  • Doing any important but not urgent activity (i.e in Stephen Covey's quadrant 2)
  • Prayer
  • Reading for fun

So how can you learn and live the New Three 3s?

1) Repetition. 

Image result for repetition
Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex. – Norman Vincent Peale

New practices have to be repeated to become habits. They need to be done regularly to become part of your routine, and many things in the above list need to be done repeatedly to have a lasting effect. For example, meditating once may be quite a nice experience but it will only  make a significant difference when you get into the habit of meditating regularly, if only for a few minutes a day.

2) Reminders. 

Image result for reminders fridge

"People  more frequently require to be reminded than informed.” ― Samuel JohnsonThe Rambler

Remember  the old joke about the man with a knot in his handkerchief who can't remember what he's supposed to remember?
So what  reminder can be more effective for you ? 

Here's a result of brainstorming some more modern a  "knots in the handkerchief"

  •   E-mail to yourself, 
  •   Notice on the fridge, 
  •   A message on your home page on your phone, tablet or computer,
  •    Something scribbled on your hand,
  •    Asking a friend to keep tabs on you. 

Personally I wouldnt go so far as writer Jules Evans who got a Stoic tattoo to remind him of what is important, but that's up to you!

For example: If you want to remember to meditate everyday for 5 minutes
after cleaning your teeth, a note by the toothbrush  might be in order.  At night, a book on meditatons by your bedside. You can also use modern technology - I use memotome which is a free service which allows you to set up reminders at any time, any day and receive an e-mail

3. Rituals

This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love
Religion does rituals rather well, as Alain de Botton  argues in Religion for Atheists 
But we all have our non-religious "rituals"and they can be very positive. Brushing your teeth is something you  probably do twice a day - you dont even have to think about doing it, because it's established itself as a daily ritual. So why not establish new rituals that can help you and those your care about flourish? What new rituals might help you get into habits that help you flourish?

So that's what I mean when I ask my students and clients to remember the New 3Rs.
So what were they again - that's right -
           Repetition, reminders and rituals.
           Repetition, reminders and rituals.
           Repetition, reminders and rituals.

Have a great day

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