The Wisdom of Routine

by Mike Clayton  - June 6, 2012

Developing wisdom is not an easy or a quick process.� It takes stamina and commitment.� So one simple and powerful support to the process is to set up a routine and practice it until it becomes habit.� A little improvement may seem imperceptible, but a little improvement upon a little improvement, upon a little improvement�

RiceThe great power of exponentials tells us that the cumulative effect of a small improvement day after day.� In a simple demonstration that ended a seminar called �The Magic 1%�which I used to give, I showed how adding 1% to a cup of rice, and then 1% to that and repeating for 365 days, you would end up with a 5kg sack full of rice at the end of the year.

So let�s look at some routines that are calculated to move you just a little way further from smart to wise, each day.

Using your time well means planning

Take time at the end of each day to plan what is most important for you to achieve the next day and, therefore how you will use your time.� Ideally, prefer this to planning first thing each morning, as you will be mentally prepared creating two benefits: fewer distractions of thinking about �what do I need to do tomorrow� and a priming of your unconscious mind to work on the problems you will need to solve tomorrow, while you are sleeping.

Learn something new every day

Read something, watch a documentary, speak with someone about a new topic, visit a new place, take an interest in the world.� Evolving needs to be constant.

Make time to look deep

In at least one of the things you do each day, make time to examine things carefully and reflect on what they mean.� Look for hidden depths, un-heard message or new interpretations.� Choose something ordinary and refuse to settle for face-value.� Ask: �what else is there, beneath the surface�?� It is too easy to take things for granted, so don�t.� Instead, look for new meaning.

Be mindful

Whenever it occurs to you, pause.� Practice a moment of awareness of what you are doing and ask yourself: �is this right?� Am I doing the right thing?� And am I doing it as well as I possibly can?�� Better yet, set an alarm for once or twice in your day to remind you to pause.

Weigh evidence

Whatever choice you need to make; stop and weigh the evidence.� Ask yourself: �what evidence am I missing?� and go find it.� Improve the quality of your judgements.

Treat people well

Choose one person who is not your best friend or most trusted colleague and make a real effort to treat them with scrupulous fairness.� Assess their contribution on its own merits and ask: �how would I assess this if it were done by my best friend, or by my most valued colleague?�� Do you get the same answer?

Build your skill

What do you most want to invest your time in now, to become more credible and authoritative?� Set aside some time each day to make that investment, by doing more of it or by learning more about it.

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