What do you do daily to boost your personal success? The book Daily Rituals offers 160+ ideas from well-known artists, makers, & creators.
What daily routines have helped you reach success? How do you think your rituals might compare to some of the most well-known artists and makers in history?
Daily Rituals, written by Mason Currey, highlights the routines of about 160 artists – from Ernest Hemingway to Maya Angelou to Twyla Tharp to Pablo Picasso – sharing daily actions that support them in creating their great works. From the extremely disciplined, like Ben Franklin’s hour-by-hour schedule and adherence to/tracking of his 13 virtues, to the somewhat quirky, such as Beethoven apparently counting out exactly 60 coffee beans each day to grind for his morning brew, I felt both inspired and intrigued by the various ways we pursue our passions and succeed at work.
As a coach, I love finding out what makes people tick, what mindsets they cultivate, and what actions move them forward. While no two artists shared the same routine, a few themes stood out for me:
Extreme Discipline. Not everyone profiled followed a strict regimen, but those who did really did. From 4am to 9pm each day, author Haruki Murakami keeps to the same routine every day when he is in novel-writing mode, says Currey. “The repetition itself becomes the important thing…[it causes me to] mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind,” Murakami apparently told The Paris Review in 2004. While some may view such a schedule as rigid, others experience great creative freedom as a result.
Massive Persistence. This book reaffirms my belief that when you love what you do, you can persevere through great odds! Novelist Joyce Carol Oates described writing a first draft like “pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor.” Arthur Miller shared that his routine was basically to write every day and then tear up what he wrote. Passion fuels persistence.
Seeking Inspiration Elsewhere. While many of the makers had dedicated work space, they often shared about taking long walks and otherwise changing scenery in order to gain fresh ideas. Author Toni Morrison rises at 5am, makes her coffee, and “watches the light come” – an important part of her morning writing process, indicates Currey.
Sleep Routines. I was particularly drawn to those artists who go to bed and wake up at the same time, and the connections made between sleep and creativity/productivity. Getting enough sleep proves challenging for most of us these days, and can be especially difficult when in the middle of a huge project or burst of inspiration. Still, sleep was a top priority for many.
Tracking Behaviors. I’ve long said that we attract what we track, an idea that many great artists confirm. Whether word counts, hours spent painting, miles walked, or other measures, keeping track of certain behaviors can lead to profound results.
Related: What’s Your Purpose?
As I read, I did find myself often wondering, “What about their families?” Since many (perhaps all, actually) of my clients hold family and career success as top priorities, as do I, I’d love to read more about how prolific creators pursue their art while also raising and honoring their families. Since less than 20% of the profiles in Daily Rituals highlighted women, I’d also love to see a follow-up that includes a greater number of women, moms, and family-plus-art-focused individuals in general.
Daily Rituals has prompted me to examine my own routines, both intentional and unintentional, to determine what tweaks I can make in order to pursue my goals with even greater purpose, passion, and intention. How about you? If someone were to interview you about your daily success habits, what could you include? What would you like to include?
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