I find it helpful to occasionally look at actions I repeatedly take and ask: tradition, ritual, or rut?
Traditions are something you do because you always have. There is an important component of nostalgia, but the action still works for you. It’s a tradition to perform a trust fall the last morning of my choir retreat.
Rituals don’t carry as much nostalgia, but you do every day because it positively affects your life. My morning mug of black tea is a ritual. In addition to being delicious, it helps me enter a particular head space.
If a tradition or ritual stops working, but you keep doing it, it has become a rut. A ritual that negatively affects your health or mindset? Rut. A tradition that hinders progress? Rut.
Here are some things I’m asking or recently asked T/R/R about.
- Choir dresses and tuxedos?
- TV before bed?
- My musical writing process.
- Daily posting here.
- Rehearsal day/times for my choir.
- Fundraising strategies for our choir program.
While I don’t have a schedule for examining my behavior to ensure it is still helping me, I do try to regularly note traditions and rituals, both personally and professionally. As Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”