Featured image of post Repetition Is a Form of Change

Repetition Is a Form of Change

We tend to wait until the plan is relatively perfect before we act on it. While perfection comes from a lot of “mediocre” repetition, and so do habits.

When you want to achieve a goal, like capturing a perfect shot, loosing weight or winning a price, what would you do? Setting up a longterm plan, keeping track on it and reminding you about your goal every morning after you wake up?

You know, life doesn’t have to be so hard. Maybe all you need to do is just form a easy daily habit and forget about your goal.


A group of scientists conducted an interesting experiment.

On the first day of class, a professor, Jerry Uelsmann at the University of Florida, divided the photography students in to two groups, a “quantity” group and a “quality” group. As the name implies, the “quantity” group would be evaluated based on the amount of wok they produced, while the “quality” group would only be graded on the excellence of their work, even if they only produce one photo during the whole semester.

The result is surprising. All the best photos were produced by the quantity group.

During the semester, students of the quantity group were busy taking photos, experimenting with composition and lighting, testing various methods and learning from their mistakes. It is exactly the process from which they honed their skills. In the opposite, the quality group was always speculating about perfection. In the end, they had little to show for their efforts other than unverified theories and one mediocre photo.

Motion and Action

These two ideas are quite different. When you’re in motion, you’re planning the strategy and learning. It’s good but they don’t produce a result. On the other hand, action will deliver an outcome.

For example, I learned math from my textbook, that’s motion. When I do some exercises, I’m taking action.

Motion is important, because we need a plan, we need to think before taking an action. But like habit forming or dieting, we often be in motion rather than take action simply because it allows us to feel like we’re making progress without effort or potential failure.

So if you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection.

Personal Experience

I’m reading a book called Atomic Habits, which is quite popular these days. In fact, four years ago, when I was in senior high, I read another book called The Willing Power. The auther also talked a little about how to form habits. Any way, the book I’m going to talk about today, is inspiring, though I haven’t finished it yet. Such books often give you knowledge that few people know about, knowledge that may only appear in academic journals.

And this book reminds me of my high school. At that time, each of us are forced to draft about two articles per week, and we would have a session dedicated for learning from others’ article and revising our own. We were all in the quantity group. But it was then where I produced most of my best articles, including the ones not on the topic list. And after that, I’ve almost stopped progressing, so as my writing skills.

I speak three languages, Chinese, English and French. And I read in all of the three languages. So maybe start wrting, also practicing, is a good way to improve. It is said that if you don’t feel embarrassed when you read your works from a year ago, you didn’t make enough progress. So I’ll start writing short articles, write one or two paragraphs everyday and give myself a reward if I managed to keep it as a habit.

Make it simple and rewarding, then take action.

Wrap Up

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