Why You Need Rituals

Quotes from Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life:

“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.”

“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more.”

“Over time, as the daily routines become second nature, discipline morphs into habit.”

Many creative individuals have daily rituals. These rituals may be so routine its practice goes unrealized and its significance lost. According to Twyla Tharp, rituals play an important role in the creative process.

“It’s vital to establish some rituals – automatic but decisive patterns of behavior – at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, chickening out, giving up, or going the wrong way.”

She lists reasons why establishing rituals into your creative process is so vital:

It “has a transforming effect on the activity”
It “eliminates the question, Why am I doing this?”
It “erases the question of whether or not I like it.”

What’s needed to develop a daily ritual? More Twlya Tharp:

“The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself… It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it. To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.”

This begs the question: How do you create new habits? Enter Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,

“This is how new habits are created: by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop.”

An example of a daily ritual turned habit:                                                                           1. Cue – Waking up                                                                                                       2. Routine – Boil water, grind coffee, make the coffee with hand press, pour coffee in mug 3. Reward – the Taste                                                                                                         4. The Craving – Improved Performance through the day

Thought Experiment 1: What are your daily rituals? Is your daily habit automatic? What is it about that habit that you truly enjoy? Does it make your day better? Make a list of your daily and/or weekly cravings; leverage your cravings to develop new habits. Odds of success improve when you work together, so make it a team effort.

Thought Experiment 2: Rituals also exist in the working world, embedding themselves into work-place culture. Seek to identify routines at your work-place.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business and The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life are simultaneously informative and practical.

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