Brain Food #620

When life gets repetitive, it might be a good sign

Thoughts of the day

Having a routine is a widely acknowledged pillar of creativity. When looking at the lives of creatives, achievers, and various types of masterminds throughout history, though they might have led adventurous lives, at its core, their output was closely tied to having a routine.

A good routine reduces the cognitive load of having to decide how each day will go. And a great routine leaves mental and temporal space for us to show up. Haruki Murakami acknowledges this through a description of his own routine, suggesting that when life gets repetitive, in a way that you have chosen for it to be, then you may just be on the right path:

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long—six months to a year—requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.