They were brothers … looked so much alike some thought they were twins … hard to tell them apart. Of course they were different but on the surface you didn’t notice … Not at first. After spending time with them though the subtle differences became clear … it was the way that you felt when you were around them more so than the way they looked. How you acted, decisions you made … they were altered depending on which one you were spending your time with. One you dreaded … the other you welcomed without giving it a second thought.
One was boring … you felt drained just thinking about him … he took so much from you … gave so little in return. For him it was the same thing day after day after day … it was drudgery … somehow it’s like you became brain numb and stopped thinking. It got to a point where you didn’t even want him around. He had you mindlessly rushing from one thing to another … having little time to do anything that might be fun. It’s a shame because it’s not that he was all bad … he probably meant well. It always started out alright with him … He’d make promises that he seemed to keep … he made you feel good … for a little while at least. Without warning though … over just a short period of time, things changed … it’s like he turned on you … like I said, he started taking much more than he gave. You dreaded … then loathed … then resented … then despised him. At some point it was so bad, that you couldn’t be around him anymore. He was an enemy that controlled, restricted, confined and suffocated … you learned to avoid him … ended up you just had to part ways … and while you were better for it … you felt lost … like you couldn’t think for yourself … you didn’t know what to do.
And then there was the brother. He was tricky … he kept you on your toes … he made you think. This was mostly because just about every situation was left up to you … he preferred it this way … he kept you engaged … alert … watchful. Time with him freed you up to do so many other things that you wanted to do … fun things. You didn’t seem to rush so much … forget so much. He’d make promises that he kept … and kept keeping. Being with him made you stronger and smarter. You wanted him around because you felt good when he was there. He was a friend that gave back way more than he took … and over time … you still felt good … better even …. In fact, the more time you spent together, the easier life became … after a while it was like he just became a part of you … he was just there … like breathing … a second skin. With him, life was freeing … exciting … engaging … rewarding. If you spent enough time with him, you just adopted his ways … you could become lifetime friends … You were better for it and you never felt lost … your mind was clear … you had direction.
The dreaded brother? … His name was Routine …..
Routine ate the exact same thing every day. Routine walked the same treadmill every day. Routine drove to work the same way … Routine watched the same shows … Routine read the same books or never read books at all … Routine went to sleep at the exact same time every night … Routine went to the same church service … sat in the same pew … Routine used the same words … and adopted an unchanging attitude … in fact, he was kind of prideful and wanted everyone to do it the ‘same way’ he did. Routine controlled, restricted, confined, and suffocated … His vocabulary consisted mostly of “I can’t.”
The welcomed brother? …. His name was Habit ….
Habit ate clean from a large variety. Habit chose intense, varied, functional movements. Habit rode off of the “beaten path” but still headed in the right direction. Habit tried watching documentaries and foreign films now and then, sometimes even cartoons … Habit read books that pushed him out of his comfort zone; challenged his thinking … Habit coveted his sleep making sure to get enough … Habit developed his spiritual life … sometimes outside of tradition… sitting in different pews and sometimes even on the floor. Habit learned new words … and used them … he adjusted his attitude when necessary … in fact, he was kind of humble … never demanding that everyone do things ‘his way’ … he just made his way so attractive most people wanted to. Habit made good on his promises. Habit’s life was freeing, exciting, engaging, rewarding … His vocabulary consisted mostly of “I can.”
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle