Sometimes rubbing together two truths could produce a whole other way of seeing that might lead to new ways of thinking.  It’s sort of like rubbing two sticks together to make a fire, another way of Un-Seeing.

One natural progression brought on by rubbing together two equal and opposite truths is this:


Think about it. It is how new hypotheses are formed and how new business deals (and art and poetry and all kinds of gadgetry) are made.  A new construct that’s built on the tension between two or more very different or even opposite ideas can lead to a new way of walking for you and, perhaps, different results in your life.

Need a concrete example?  There’s this:


Working on “building rituals” à la Tony Schwartz, THE WAY WE’RE WORKING ISN’T WORKING:  The Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance  is supposed to mitigate that godawful feeling of being in Overwhelm.  The idea is to ritualize certain practices so that they become an automatic part of the way you go through your day.

The theory is that if you can make it automatic, then it just is part of what you do and you don’t have to spazz about doing it or not doing it and your head doesn’t seize up from all the push-me/pull-you that happens when you’re in transition and trying to change.

Here’s a YouTube video, “Tony: The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working” put together by Schwartz’s own company, The Energy Project.  It’s a snippet of one of his speaking engagements, that explains the premises from which he operates.


  • Start small and build incrementally.   Undertake to add no more than one or two rituals into your day a time.   Once they’ve gotten set into your day,  you can add a couple more.
    • Schwartz says, “Embedding any ritual can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.  Even then, it’s possible to build several rituals over the course of a year, one at a time.”
  • Aim for precision and specificity.  Define precisely when you’re going to do something (i.e., “It’s Thursday; I water houseplants.”)
    • “If you have to think for very long about doing something, it’s unlikely you’ll end up doing it for very long,” Schwartz says.
  • Focus is important.  Make sure you’re focusing on something you are doing rather than focusing on something you are trying not to do.
    • A real-life example of a failure to focus properly is my 50 or so aborted attempts to quit smoking.  Every time the attempt has been about not-smoking.  Success has been limited to avoiding the expansion of a bad jones.
    • I was disappointed to learn that I am not quite Gandhi enough to “be the change I want to be.”
  • Recognize when and why you sabotage your own change.  Schwartz says that even the most passionate commitment to a given change is always balanced by an equally powerful, often unseen commitment not to change.  The only way to change it is to admit it, accept it, and then change anyhow.
    • One tool to use is asking a series of questions:
      • QUESTION 1:  What do I want and what will I do to avoid getting it?
      • QUESTION 2:  What am I currently doing or not doing that undermines my commitment to changing?
      • QUESTION 3:  What is my competing commitment that urges me to not-change?
      • QUESTION 4:  What’s the Big Assumption behind the competing commitments?
    • Schwartz says you need to take a look at your shadows.
      • Ask yourself what you fear might happen if you actually followed through on your primary commitment and changed your behavior.
      • Are these fears realistic ones?
      • If they are, then how can you design the ritual so you enjoy the intended benefits but also mitigate the costs you are fearing?
      • I am still working on this one.
  • Notice the positive effects of the new ritual as you continue to do it.   Are other people seeing any positive changes in you?  Can you ask them for help and support if you need it?
  • Honest self-observation is the antidote to unwitting self-deception.   It’s a good thing to check out whether the new way of doing stuff is actually”better.”  If you’re not happy with the results or if the benefits are not what you thought they’d be, it could be time to re-think the thing.


Okay.  So you’ve built up all your routines and are flying on automatic pilot.  You make up routines as you go along because it gets to be a pain always thinking, thinking, thinking about your next move.  Doing a routine makes it easier to slide through the days.

But, it also lets the days slip away from you and everything tends to get a little bit blurry as a result.  After a while that gets…unsatisfactory.

Deliberately changing the routines of your life and paying attention to everything you can learn about people, the world around you, and your own self seems to make the days more real somehow.  They also tend to help you find better ways to do the stuff you have to do.  A different cool thing.

Maybe it can result in a thing like Sarah Kay’s beautiful spoken poem, “If I Should Have a Daughter.”


(That YouTube video was taken from a TEDtalk and uploaded by Feras Al-Taher in 2012.  It’s one of the more beautiful versions of Sarah Kay’s work.)

Changing up the same-old that grew out of your routine-making can lead to wondrous things.


So there it is:  all I know about routines.  You make them to give yourself space to do all the stuff you need to get done to get to where you want to go.  But, then you need to break up the routines to give yourself the ability to enjoy your life.  It just goes ’round and ’round, that.

How much routine you choose to have in your life depends on how much you can stand zombie-ing out,   I suppose.   Me, I get a bit paranoid when things get too routine.  (That may be the result of reading too many spy thrillers.  “Predictable” is never a good thing in those stories.)

And here’s a poem:


Feeling BEHIND.

Why am I thinking this is a race?

Where is the course?

What is the pace?


Time goes flitting by

On a crazy butterfly course,

Flowing outward….

Outward from the source.


What am I trying to reach

In my mad and scattered way?

Am I learning anything new?

What is it I have to say?


I want to make Time BIG,

And sit quiet with my dreams.

I need to hear the whispers

Under all the stadium-crowd screams.


Time marches on, they say,

Momentum tugs you right along

And your teeny-tiny voice gets lost

In that mighty, martial song.


Time waits for no man.

(The pundits say that’s true.)


Here’s a sudden thought….

I am NOT a man!

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  in the key of…bee!  By Jack (jmtimages) via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.


  1. What you written is very thought provoking in many ways.
    I have recently come into a different way of thinking that instead of a lack of that there is abundance.
    The poem was very lovely that felt like the ending of it was a short sharp shock sort of feeling to it.
    Have you ever seen Abraham Hicks Talks at all? You might like them and can find them on YouTube.
    You have a great website full to brimming of interesting articles that I shall revisit time and time again.
    Abundance to you.
    Andi Tointon.

    1. Hey Andi. Thanks for the visit and the comments. Yes, I have explored Abraham Hicks’s work. They lead to interesting places, them. Have fun on your own journey….

      And, please, do come again!

  2. Your article need some clarifications. First of all, you stated that our mind should be focused on one thing at a time. How can we achieve it as my mind is always multitasking?

    You gave very good points to be followed and I will try my best to implement in my daily life routine. Just give me the tips to focus properly.

    1. Hey Quinn…

      Thanks for your visit and your comments. Uni-tasking (focusing on just one thing at a time) can be a hard thing if your mind is very good at multi-tasking or if you’re easily distracted (as I am). You could try meditation, but if your brain is as good at jitterbugging as mine is, that one takes a L-O-N-G and frustrating time.

      One thing that did work for me was using the Pomodoro technique, about which I’ve written another post. It involves using a timer and a set of rules that has you focusing down on just one thing for a set number of minutes, resting for a little bit, and then focusing on the same thing again through four iterations…repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. After a while, with a bit of re-training like this, your brain does settle down. It gets easier to focus and it also helps you get a bunch of stuff done as a bonus.

      I hope that helps some. Please do come again!

  3. Netta

    I have always known that ritual was a huge part of successful living, but I did not grasp the concept in its entirety. Schwartz is spot on that rituals become automatic and we don’t think about them. I will be working very had to incorporate more and more rituals into my daily routine. I really like that you touched on quit smoking because that is something I also need to do. Thank you for this article

    P.S did you quit smoking?

    Keith Lewis

    1. Hey Keith: Thanks for your visit. I’m glad the thing helps. For myself, smoking remains my vice-of-choice. (Sigh!) Maybe I have to figure out how to unconnect smoking from writing. I’ve unconnected it from everything else and can go hours without starting to jones. Just let me pick up a pen or sit down at my keyboard and there’s my paka (tobacco) demon staring at me with the whirling, hypnotic eyeballs. ARGH! There is no way I’m going to quit writing, so…. Oh, well. Gotta have SOME-thing to work on, right?

      Please come again, Keith….

  4. This is interesting. I find it ironic I start to read it after I got a cup of coffee- something I am trying to cut back on in my life! I went all day so far without a coffee and I even bought green tea yesterday at the store to substitute my caffeine but it’s just not as satisfying! Ugh!
    I am into reading self improvement stuff and self help. I have read in order to end a bad habit you have to replace the habit with a new habit and stay consistent with it for at least 21 days, because that’s how long it takes to create a habit!
    I like the way you use your words. It is fun and keeps the gears spinning in the brain! 🙂

    1. Hey Ashlie:

      Thanks for the visit and for your kind words. Trying to change a habit is a trip, huh? It’s having to undo all those teeny-tiny threads that have grown into a rope that’s starting to strangle you, I say.

      I know I’ve read the 21-day rule of thumb as a timetable for changing habits. It works, mostly, for habits that aren’t really ingrained or the ones that are mostly the result of inattention. For the ones your body really likes, it seems to me, it can take a lot longer and require a heck of a lot more effort.

      Ah, well…every little bit helps, I suppose.

      Please do come again.

  5. Wow, commitments to routines and engaging with the world around us are such nice subjects, we make ourselves so busy that we tend to forget how important these are. Great article. It is such a great reminder to be centered and focus. We all know how hard it is to stay focus, especially since we are constantly bombarded by so many social media and visual stimuli, plus whatever we carry within. I love the poem, it carries that screaming essence that remind us that “there is only now”. Thank you!

    1. Hey Jackie:

      Thanks for your visit and for your kind words.  A couple of other posts on this website, LIFE-POEMS:  Living Out Loud, address the concept of “busy.”  They are:  “How Are You Busy?” and “Do-Be, Do-Be, Do.”  You might want to check them out.  

      Please do come again.

  6. Strahinja says:

    Thank you for this amazing insights. When I think about it, all of these things you mentioned about building rituals make sense. I think that when something becomes a habit, it becomes a part of our lives which we do not think about – it becomes automatic.

    If only we only had enough will power to do something that we know is good for us, long enough to make it a habit, our world would be a better place.

    Also, I love how you always end your posts with the poem. Your website and writing style is really unique.

    Best regards,


    1. Thanks for your visit, for thinking on it, and for sharing your thoughts, Strahinja.  I do appreciate it.  

      Please do come again….

  7. Alejandra says:

    Thanks for sharing a good article to read to know more about what to do to get a new habit, as I’m looking to do some changes in my life, I’m always looking for ideas that can help me to find a way to achieve a new goal and stop doing one thing or starting to do something new. 

    After reading your article I took some notes, I know these notes will help me, and I’m sure the more read about how to do this, I will be more prepare to achieve my goals.  

    I will go one day at the time focused on what I want to achieve and not on what I want to quit doing. 

    1. Alejandra, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      I’ve found that yours is probably the best approach when you’re looking to change an old habit or develop a new one.  Give yourself time to settle into your new way of walking.  I’d say you’re doing great!

      Please do come again.

  8. How true, in regards to routines. Though as a character in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop would often say – Up to a point Lord Copper. Which was just a polite way of saying – not at all. 

    But I sense you are struggling with accepting the theory yourself or at least lock-stock-and-barrel. Or perhaps you were being thorough and just examining both sides of the argument. 

    Maybe the advantages of the routine and the preciousness of the unique even among the most mundane are themselves two truths that can be rubbed together to . . . take us somewhere we did not expect.

    It reminded me of an approach I took to the work clothes of the week. I would plan ahead, just having a rough plan of which suit, shirt, and socks I would wear which day of the week. That worked for a while and avoided me agonizing and wasting time over something to me as pointless as a choice of work clothes. 

    Then the pandemic and remote working changed all that. 

    But then at the same time as I would routinize some of life’s activities that are a great source of deliberation and effort for others, I can just as easily get lost aggrandizing and celebrating some small daily task like loading the dishwasher – something I have developed to a fine art.

    1. I think I like your third approach best, Andy.  It’s probably a matter of balance…or something like that.

      Like you, I do tend to get all woo-woo about things like washing dishes and that.  I just recategorize the thing as part of a Tao-ish sort of practice.  That conceit does make me giggle.  Hee!

      Please do come again.

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