On Habits, Rituals, Routines, Traditions and Taboos
July 5, 2017
It is the day after Independence Day, one of the few days that America takes a deep breath to relax and, sometimes, reflect. We spent the day with our friends the Overbeys. It is the second year in a row — last year you were crawling on a blanket, this year terroririzing the dog.
As I dropped you to daycare today, I thought how happy this new, little tradition has become and the importance of traditions in general.
In life, there are at least 5 kinds of things that you will do regularly (I have to think on this more in case I am missing something). If I can, let me summarize them this way.
- Habits — these are the things we do without even knowing that we do them
- Rituals — these are things we choose to do for our personal experience
- Routines — these are things we choose to do for our personal or shared experience
- Traditions — these are things we choose to do, with others, for our shared experience
- Taboos — these are things we definitely choose not to do
Let me illustrate these with some examples from our life.
- Habit — I bite my nails, I know it’s bad
- Ritual — I turn on music and put on headphones when I need to focus
- Routine — I get up at 4am daily to check email, read, and write before going to the gym at 5am
- Tradition — we take a trip with your grandma and grandpa for one of their birthdays every year
- Taboo — checking a bag at the airport
I’m sure you will encounter all of these in your lifetime, son. But as you do, think about this:
- Find good habits, not bad ones
- Don’t let your rituals rule you
- Routines have to be adjusted as life changes
- Build great traditions early and often
- Don’t fear the past, embrace it