We Are What We Repeat

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

— Aristotle

Every self-help guru knows that repetition of successful behaviors is one of the keys to success.

What we practice, we learn. What we learn, we repeat. What we repeat, we become.


A musical repeat sign

If we repeatedly try, fail, and learn, we will have eventual success in writing, athletics, acting, speaking, academics, programming, quilting or whatever we choose to do.  There’s nothing new or magical about it. The repetition of positive, self-improving habits will build excellence. Aristotle knew it 2000 years ago.

What might be interesting, though, is that if we want people to treat us differently, we need to repeatedly act differently. Because what we repeat, will be repeated back to us.

  • Want your neighbors to be more considerate of you? Repeated show consideration to them.
  • Want your children to listen to you? Repeatedly listen to them.
  • Want people to spend time with you? Repeatedly spend time with them.
  • Want your co-workers to help you? Repeatedly help them.
  • Want friends to give time to you? Repeatedly give time to them.

Of course, the negative is also true. Complain a lot, and others will complain. Frown, and others will frown. Act stressed, and others will stress out with you. Remain silent, and receive silence. Rant, and be ranted upon.

In a group, people tend to repeat what the group does. What you do, comes back. Call it what you’d like – group think or peer pressure. Regardless, it’s a feedback loop. A self-reinforcing system.

We are what we repeat. And what we repeat, others repeat.

Yesterday’s gift of time … Because of the format of our daughter’s school conferences, we made a repeat trip (two trips) to school to ensure that we talked with all of her teachers. (For those counting, this is the second round of school conferences)

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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