The risk of ritual

Time for tea

Rituals help us to be efficient, but do they stop us being creative and agile?

We fill our lives with rituals: every morning i make my cup of tea in the same way, when i write, i set my working space up just so (whatever cafe, train or hotel i’m sat in), when i get on the train to London, i take the same seat (if it’s free!) on the left of the carriage, facing forwards. Rituals make us feel comfortable, because they deal with the familiar: they leave our attention free to focus on things that are new, that require constructive thought!

But what happens when our rituals take over, when we become too immersed in habits and routine?

We lose the space for creativity and innovation, we reduce our willingness to take risks, we become safer, but at the cost of our agility.

So maybe we need the right amount of ritual: routines that help bond our teams (heading to the pub after work), rituals that make us efficient (keeping the teabags in the same place!), but maybe we need to challenge or change some of the other routine that surrounds us. Maybe move desks, change the view, change your style, change your habits.

Introducing some disturbance, some difference, can lead to short term thinking: how do i do things now, and some long term gains. Rituals are good, but not something to hide behind.

What have you got into the habit of doing that you could change? What could you learn to do differently?

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Adaptability, Agile, Creative and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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