It was some time in the mid 1980’s when my dad brought home a motivational video. This was a pioneering step as such videos were not the norm in the decade of Walkmans, Garfield comics and processed yellow cheese.
The video was called “Only you can make the difference”. The motivational speaker was the now deceased Leonardo Buscaglia.
Considering it was decades ago I cannot recall all the gems that were covered in the video, but I do remember the topic of routines and getting stuck in a rut. I remember the passionate plea of Leonardo to stop the dullness and robot behavior in our lives. He advocated a life of magic where we are all a touch mad (as in enthusiastic and vibrant) and where we lighten-up.
Routine has its place in our world and if you have children, routine provides critical structure and creates order in an otherwise chaotic day. As adults, routine helps our cluttered minds, as we do things without having to rely on lists and outlook reminders. There does however, in my view, come a time when we must break routine in order to add spice to an otherwise predictable existence.
For example, when last did you not make the bed in the morning? When did you decide to go grocery shopping without a list and just go with the flow, and who cares if you forget to buy bread? Does it matter in the big scheme of things? Leave your cellphone at home for a day and see how pleasant it is to not be contactable. Read a book starting from the last chapter.
This is what the video touched on. I will always remember three examples of breaking routine which Leonardo gave:
☕️ If you always get out of the bed on the same side every morning, get out the other side for a change even if you roll over your confused spouse
☕️ Go to work using a different route
☕️ When getting in a lift, stand facing the other people in the lift instead of staring at floor numbers. Then say to those in the lift: “wouldn’t it be nice if the lift got stuck and we could all get to know one another.”
I also recall him saying that we waste precious energy and time over things we cannot control. A prime example is the weather. There is no point in getting fixated on the rain, wind, sun or hail. Yes, we can do our bit to limit the effects of climate change, even in a small way, but can we control El Niño? No. We cannot.
I found an unexpected hour to spare this week on my business trip to the UK. Having no map or plan, I took a train to nowhere. I happily sat on the train, passed stations unknown to me, looked at rows of terraced houses with brick chimneys and without changing trains, found myself having done a complete circle, ending-up where I started. For me, it was a pleasant break from a tight meeting schedule and sitting on a train, for me, is pure relaxation.
Be bold. Leave your GPS at home, switch of your cellphone, throw away the shopping list and just be.