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Why Repetition is the Forerunner of Success

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality” - Earl Nightingale

I’m a teenager watching professional bowlers throw two or three strikes in a row making it look easy, igniting a desire in me to learn how to do the same. My goal is throwing successive strikes and eventually bowl a 200 game.

My high game of 226 comes while bowling in a league game after many practice sessions, hundreds of throws developing my form rolling the ball over my target arrows and numerous trips to the bowling alley until I was going through the steps without thinking.

Repetition is the Forerunner of Success

I found it interesting when placing the suffix ion at the end of the word success it spells succession for which some synonyms are; sequence, series, and progression, you may be thinking what in the world does this have to do with my bowling story? Everything! The repetitive sequence of steps over numerous practices enables me to improve my scores until my bowling a 226.

Numerous studies have shown there is a complexity of interactions between the brain and the muscles that repeatedly perform a variety of actions in sequence, like a toddler learning to walk, a child learning to play a musical instrument or riding a bicycle, the more often the same actions are repeated, the more seamlessly they are performed. Both mind and muscle will function automatically with the same precision as a rehearsed orchestra.

Repetition causes your mind to remember new things by attaching the new input to something your mind is familiar with, like my bowling experience, my mind already contained information about bowling from previous visits to the bowling alley. The new techniques from my training regimen are being integrated into what I already know. The new repetitions forged a connection enforcing both mental and muscle memory.

In his book “The Talent Code,” Daniel Coyle says, “The best way to measure progress is not in minutes or hours but in the number of quality repetitions you make”(1)

5 Reasons the Repetition of Planned Actions Leads to Success

  1. Repetition provides the data to chart your progress

  2. Repetition will build your confidence

  3. Repetition allows you to develop rhythms

  4. Repetition syncs mind and body

  5. Repetition develops mental and muscle memory

Repetition and the Benefits of Lifelong Learning

The repetition exercised in learning new information benefits lifelong learners because the brain is attaching everything new to similar things previously learned, thus improving memory. Gugu Mofokeng writes, “The Law of Repetition states that repeating a behavior makes it more powerful. Each suggestion acted upon creates less opposition to successive suggestions.” (2)

John C. Maxwell says, “Small disciplines repeated with consistency everyday lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.” The power of repetition comes from being consistent with it. I’m including Maxwell’s applying the law of consistency because it will jump-start the power of repetitive action.

Law of Consistency Applied

1. Align your methods of motivation with your personality type. Use whatever personality profile you prefer to study your personality type. (If you haven’t used one before than I would encourage you to take a look at our Leadership Assessments. Once you have a good handle on what makes your personality type tick, then develop a daily growth system that is simple and plays to your strengths.

2. It’s difficult to remain engaged in anything if you have not found a way to value and appreciate the process. Make a list of everything you like about personal growth. If your list is very short, really work at it. Anything you can find as motivation will help you to develop better growth habits.

3. The more whys you have for pursuing personal growth on a daily basis, the more likely you will be to follow through. Start compiling those whys. Think of immediate benefits as well as long-term ones. Consider reasons related to purpose, vision, and dreams. Think of how it will help you relationally, vocationally, and spiritually. Any reason to grow is a good reason as long as it’s your reason. (3)

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Will Durant

(1) The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

(2) Gugu Mofokeng – Success Mindset

(3) The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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