I have written in this blog every day for the last forty-five days, apart from the few days I was abroad. I do this even though blogging is now a thing of the past, and nowhere is this more true than this antediluvian format of blogger.com. I have had very few views - mostly from Germany - and no indication that any reader is not a bot. Still, it has been a discipline and that in itself teaches us something.
This feels like it should be the last heading. I did make a list of all my LOTDs but, unfortunately, the notebook containing probably the most useful ones has been lost/stolen. Most of the ones on the current list are things I already know but just fail to put into practice, but a few interesting ones surfaced. My favourite is "It is easier to avoid than resist a temptation". If there is something you want to avoid (especially if this involves some sort of commercial outlet) it is better to plan your day so that you do not cross its path, rather than assuming your current level of willpower will prevail. This is also a means of willpower management, Now and then it is okay to seek out temptation with the express intention of practising abstinence but this is a dangerous strategy and one only to be undertaken in the early morning. Then again, this comes down to priorities and resisting a particular temptation might clash with something else. For example, say there is a shop I don't want to shop in but where I seem too always buy something when I go in. Say there is a coffee shop downstairs. If I am arranging a get-together I won't arrange it for that coffee-shop. But say some-one else has arranged one and other people have already committed and said there suits them. Well, I just go, don't I? I rely on my willpower and if that fails me once in a while that is not the end of the world.
The more I reflect on things (okay, gaze in wonder at my own umbilicus) the more convinced I become that there are rules and there are costs incurred with breaking them. There are also costs involved with following them and I like Gretchen Rubin's observation "You break the rules, you pay. You follow the rules, you pay." Life hurts, and the point of the rules isn't to avoid pain, it's to maximise benefits and the odds of other people wishing to continue your acquaintance.
That said, you can become bogged down with rules and you read enough self-help books and realise half of the rules out there contradict the other half. Other people's lists of rules can be fine for them, but not ill-adjusted to my circumstances. I am also brought to mind of Jordan Peterson's book and its "12 Rules" title. Like he's Moses with 20% extra. He calls his book an "antidote to chaos", which would be fine except that he defines chaos as feminine. I think there's nothing wrong with chaos,it's everywhere and much more powerful than any puny rules we humans might make to try to control it. On the other hand there is an order underpinning everything and our rules are only vague shadows of its immutable laws. Rules are not laws and we should remember that.
Routines seem linked to rules somehow, but more concerned with the nitty-gritty. While ambivalent still about rules, I have become unequivocally enthusiastic about routines. There is a rule that routines are good and everyone should have a few. So far the ones I have concentrated on are a morning routine and an evening routine. If I had to pick one, I'd nearly go for the evening one. "Every great day starts the night before" could well be an LOTD and I am very happy with my FLOAT invention. Morning routines get more press and these are good too. I think they come in to their own when the day ahead is fairly unstructured or loosely-structured to begin with. I mean, when I'm at work my competing priorities of sleep v getting out the door to beat the traffic mean I'm unlikely to be following the full Hal Elrod next September, but a comprehensive set of tasks and activities that run on automatic is good for the holidays. It means I'm up and have done stuff without lying in bed waiting for the brain to start. (The brain rarely starts in those conditions).
There we have it. Three reflections on forty-five days. I still think the one from yesterday about how it's all about adjusting to failure and getting better at that might be the Lesson of the Summer.