Repetition, Reiteration, and Resiliency


There’s a statistic I vaguely remember learning, something along the lines of how it takes ten times, ten repetitions, to truly keep something within one’s memory; maybe the fact that I can’t remember the exact number proves that (especially as when I google, I find varied answers about the exact number.)

It’s struck me lately how true this is. Last May, I wrote about feeling lost, having not gotten into graduate school at the time, and earlier this year, I also blogged about exploring while being lost. It was meant to be a New Years resolution.

Am I succeeding if I still find myself panicking time and time again over how I don’t know what I’m doing?

When I was younger, I loved using the word redundant. I’d scribble it over essays I was editing, not understanding why people felt a need to repeat something. Being concise with language is still an art I treasure, and strive towards mastering.

However, I also babble sometimes, reiterating my point in hopes of communicating better, clearer. I’ve discussed this in the past, in a Podditea episode, and I bring it up because I realize I don’t only do this as I mentally attempt to process events. I’m starting to think life is about reiteration.

It’s easy to fall into familiar patterns. I like routine, because then I know what I’m doing. That control is nice to have, as well as the feeling of security, stability.

Yet, not all norms are healthy, nor beneficial. An example of this could be when experiencing a rough patch in a friendship, my first presumption has been that the friendship is most likely to then end. This is false; while a possibility, there’s also the chance that it is a time to strengthen the friendship, clearing up misunderstandings and learning how to prevent them, as well as work through them better, for the future. Now, if experiencing insecurity in a friendship, while I do deem my panic valid, I also am quicker to remember that a) this will likely resolve itself and blow over, and b) it is not the end of the world either way.

It’s taken many difficulties to get to this point, having grown in this partially because of how many times it has occurred; this development also stems from how tired I am of experiencing this, feeling all the emotions that come from such a thought. I have learned to recover faster, to pull myself up again, to change my outlook, because the pattern wasn’t a good one. Merely repeating myself achieved nothing for me.

Reiteration involves looking to improve each time – and that includes starting from the bottom, from the very worst.

I was working late one night in university on a project with a colleague and friend, one I greatly admire. While attempting to analyze data or write a report, one of the two, we also discussed entrepreneurship. I spoke of how I admire those who strive to launch these businesses, and how I could never do it – or, something along those lines. And, I cited how I thought these ventures as brave due to the risk of failure.

My friend asked me whether there was something wrong with failure then. After I responded, he then went to the others working in the same area, people he knew, asking them if they thought failure was bad. The collective answer was that it isn’t – because, it’s a way of learning.

I was listening to Seth Godin the other day, and he spoke of how failure is good; it’s part of innovation, and if you can take a risk without considerable penalty, you should. How else does one grow if playing it completely safe?

To me, with my career path specifically, part of why I dislike feeling ‘lost’ is due to the lack of stability, security. I’m worried of choosing one field, because I don’t want to find myself ‘stuck’ in something that won’t make me happy. I want to explore so as to be able to determine one route that may work.

The truth is, no matter how much time I take, there are no guarantees; there’s none in choosing ‘one path’, and there’s none as I look around at the possibilities.

Some realizations need to hit you over and over again before they sink in; this is one for me, that either way, I will be taking a risk, and in some ways, I need to. But, though I still feel ‘lost’, I can change what I do, how I view, where I am in life. The first change earlier this year was in how I thought I’d use this time to explore. A newer layer to that is in using this time of discernment is how I really need to push myself as I explore, to look and consider things. Being passive gets me nowhere; claiming things gets me nowhere.

Maybe this sounds similar to before, but it’s a renewal to me, for me. I am invigorated once more as life goes on, as I head through it. Perhaps repetition has its uses, if it leads me to reiterate, to grow upon failure, to learn from it.

I’m starting to think this is resiliency: not only being able to get up from a fall, but to recover quicker, better, each time.

Figuring things out, and getting closer and better, improving, each time

Figuring things out, and getting closer and better, improving, each time



2014 Reflection: The Poster Sale


The school term is over for me and I find myself at home. Glad to be back for the holidays, I’m spending it with family and friends. My time nonetheless is also being used to write new blog posts and to reflect on this past year. Many moments and thoughts I’ve had strike me as worthy of sharing. Here’s the first one:

A poster, one I bought at a poster sale in September, hangs in my university residence room. It serves as a source of happiness for me but it’s not this poster I want to discuss. Rather, there are two I saw that continue to remain in my thoughts despite the fact that I did not buy them.

Loss, a surrealistic painting, by Agnes Cecile. Prints of this were being sold at the poster sale I visited.

Loss, a surrealistic painting, by Agnes Cecile.

The first one is titled Loss. As seen on the left, it is a print of a painting created by Agnes Cecile. Its subject is a woman composed of blue and pink watercolour paints. Imagery of birds can be seen where her hair should be.

My interpretation of this artwork includes how the pink appears as bruises, lines resembling veins. To me, this signals harm. Pain. Suffering. Sadness permeates this woman. In addition, the bare shoulders and skin leads me to having thoughts of vulnerability. Weakness has been associated with this concept for a long time.

I see an inner struggle happening in this poster. A wearisome fight that may not be visible from an outsider’s view.

The second one is titled About a New Place.  As seen below, it depicts a woman’s face with her eyes appearing to follow the butterflies that surround her. Pink, red, blue, purple; more colour may be found in this painting than the last discussed.

About a New Place, a surrealistic painting by Agnes Cecile.

About a New Place, a surrealistic painting by Agnes Cecile.

Butterflies symbolize hope. Their involvement in this artwork, the increase in colour, and the title of the piece leads me to thinking that this woman finds herself with a new beginning.

I see recovery. A new chapter is possible and this is something the woman has realized. Struggles do not have to exist forever. The fight does not have to define her life.

These two posters were not a set. Nonetheless, I think they work well together. In them, I see a reminder that though struggles occur, there is hope. You can bounce back from them and recover.

I once mentioned that some blog posts I’ve written never get published. This was one of those; I don’t know why I forgot to post it, but perhaps that’s because I somehow knew it’d be better for a later time.

The thoughts I express here, about how hope exists and recovery is possible, that there can be more to life than just the struggles you may encounter, are those I still believe in. I think I always will. It’s why I do what I do, advocating for mental health. That’s for the next blog post though – one I promise to have up before the New Year.