17 September 2012

The Value of the Little Things in Life

 Remembrance of Things Past
 
Sometimes, an old photograph, a familiar scent or a tune you hear can trigger a flood of memories and associations. This past weekend, I read an article titled The Morning Routines of Successful People and it set in motion a train of memories.



Meaningful Coincidences and Lasting Memories

The article reminded me of a friend I knew in college and the perfume she wore. She wore Halston; back then it was all the rage. It reminded me of the book she recommended to me, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

In an opening scene, a visitor, enjoying the warmth of a fireplace, is captivated by a story told by the housekeeper, Nelly Dean. At one point Nelly stops and draws attention to the lateness of the hour and suggests that the story could be wrapped up in “half a dozen words.” Lockwood, the visitor says he’d prefer it if she continues at a leisurely pace because he intends to sleep until ten the next day. Nelly Dean’s memorable reply is:
You shouldn't lie till ten. There's the very prime of the morning gone long before that time. A person who has not done one-half his day's work by ten o'clock runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.
I don’t know why, but the last sentence stayed with me and I never forgot it. I picked up the book during a college semester on a lark, as it wasn’t part of my coursework. It was assigned to my then-ex-girlfriend for her English class and I read it based on her recommendation. I’m sure there are lots of other things I learned that semester, but I couldn’t tell you what they were and it’s as though I’ve forgotten them all.

As an aside, we were both pre-med students at the time. I never made it to medical school. My friend went on to become the head of radiation oncology at a hospital.

Morning Routines - On a mundane level, a ritual is a routine that we follow or a set of actions we perform out of habit. A ritual allows you to lose yourself in a process, thus freeing your mind. It can facilitate a type of free-form meditation that promotes silence and clear thinking. It can put you in a zone that is conducive to productivity and peak performance.

The choices for creating a ritual that suits your lifestyle and temperament are almost boundless. Your ritual can be as effortless as sitting alone and relishing the aroma and flavors of a steaming cup of your favorite blend. Depending on the mood of the present moment and what circumstances may require, you can collect scattered thoughts, savor the moment or consider your plans for the day ahead.

The most interesting point I drew from the article is that willpower is like a muscle. It can get tired and its store of energy can be depleted during the course of a day. After a good night’s rest, you have as much willpower as you are going to have at any other time. There was no word on whether the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

See: The Morning Routines of Successful People

Are you a morning person? Do you have a morning routine?
Painting: Frank Desch (1873 – 1934)

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