Gugu Mofokeng

Helping ordinary people create extraordinary lives since 2011

LAWS OF THE MIND – Repetition

Success Mindset

May 23, 2017

Building on the foundation of the Law of Reinforcement, the Law of Repetition states that repeating a behaviour makes it more powerful. Each suggestion acted upon creates less opposition to successive suggestions.

As we’ve learned in the previous law; a reinforced idea creates strong neural pathways in the brain, but these are not totally fixed. As soon as the mind accepts the idea that it needs to re-evaluate the standard response to a situation then it starts to build new pathways. At first; the new pathways are like temporary road diversions, and can be easily erased, but as the new response is used again and again the pathways get more firmly established. Eventually the old pathways wither away because they are no longer being reinforced. Such is the power of repetition!

Your habits are your life. Life is made of sets of habits, which are successions of actions that become more or less automatic. Ninety-seven percent of what we do, we do by spontaneous habit. Each separate act (habit), good or bad, plays a part in making you what you are. It is never too late (nor are we ever too old) to change our habits. You can begin today. You can begin right now, at this very moment. Remember that success is a habit and failure is also a habit. Repetition forms positive and negative habits.

We humans do little from reason, much is from passion and most is from habit. A sure-fire way to tell what your future will hold is to look at your habits of today. If you don’t change your bad habits of today, there is only one place they will lead you. If you want to change your habits, you have to be prepared to put work on it.

Getting rid of bad habits is a decision that involves cultivating new ones. And that work has to be on the subconscious level. If you could change by just reading a book about change or going to therapy, everyone would be replacing all of their negative thoughts and behaviours with positive ones.

As you now know, what you use increases; what you don’t use, or abuse will diminish. All of your talents increase or decrease in proportion to the extent to which you apply them. Once a habit is formed, it becomes easier and easier to follow and more difficult to break.

Repetition and drill helps learning and its absence causes forgetfulness. Do you remember the common proverb: practice makes perfect? Drill is based on the principle that repetition fixes learning. That is the reason why students have to repeat maths tables, formulae, spellings and definitions in order to reinforce the newly established neural pathways.

When learning a new skill, like handwriting, driving, dance, language, music, craft, drawing and everything else, repetition is necessary. Lack of practice or exercise causes the memory of the learned material to weaken; causing forgetfulness. We forget because subsequent experiences tend to cancel out what has been learnt.

For better or worse, we are who we are today because of the actions we repeat to form the habits we allow ourselves to indulge in throughout our days.

As you have progressed along through life, you have formed new behaviours or strengthened old habits. Either way, new success habits and rituals are the only ones that are going to support you in achieving your goals and objectives.

Habits originate from our thoughts. No thought is self-sustaining in the mind – it must be nurtured, fed and kept alive. Our thoughts cause our behaviour. Therefore, if you wish to change your actions, you must begin by changing our thoughts and keep repeating your positive thought patterns.

The Benefits of Repetition

When we explore the nature of creativity, the importance of repetition is clear.

  1. Repetition helps you to discover your personal rhythms and know them more intimately. This knowledge saves you time, maximizes your energy and creativity.

 

  1. Repetition enhances creativity, increases capacity, and helps develop effective working patterns that result in higher efficiency.

 

  1. No matter what the goal is – a work project, weight loss, addiction interruption, a portfolio, a marketing plan, etc; repetition plays a pivotal role from the creative process through to completion.

Repetition is key because it deepens our learning on two levels. On the conscious level, repetition increases our mastery in using the new knowledge and tools we’ve learned. Increased mastery makes the new tasks more automatic, therefore conserving more energy.

Repetition can be likened to a lubricant for the creative process, easing the way for new learning to sink in. Have you noticed how when you learn a new task related to your creative project but do not repeat it, the learning begins to fall away? When finally returning to the task, part of your time must be invested in re-learning what you’ve forgotten. If one of your goals is to maximize your creative growth, mastery through repetition is very essential.

With enough repetition, the learning on the conscious level deepens to internalize on the unconscious level. Our capacity expands to include instinct and intuition that guide us into more efficient choices and beautiful outcomes. Somewhat mysteriously, the unconscious energies become interwoven with the conscious ones, directing us toward our primary and secondary goals more efficiently.

If you’re like most people, you’ve experienced those times in the creative process when energy seems to build exponentially and the project seems to take on “a life of its own.” This experience is a result of fusion between the conscious and unconscious operations of your mind.

New tasks bring tension by nature because they are unfamiliar. Repetition helps us to grow comfortable with what, at first, feels uncomfortable. This discomfort is a very essential ingredient in creative growth. It should not be avoided, as many people do, but rather wholly embraced. With repetition, discomfort gives way to more and more comfort. At this point, growth demands that we stretch again, to learn another new task. This brings discomfort again, but further repetition gives way to comfort again, and so on.

As we use repetition properly, each action builds more momentum on both the conscious and unconscious levels. We begin to experience less trial and error and a more efficient use of time. This is how goals are achieved and big successes are born!

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