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Finding Beauty In Repetition

Updated on June 21, 2019
Origami Rose
Origami Rose

There are two primary definitions of repetition according to Google:

1. the action of repeating something that has already been said or written.

2. the recurrence of an action or event.

Repetition is often associated with boredom but with the ability to see its uniqueness, we will be able to find beauty in repetition. This article aims to inspire readers to find beauty in what may seem to lack variety. Repetition comes in different forms and since you will notice that the term repetition appears throughout the article, hopefully the content of this article balances that out.

Positive Attitude

Routine activity may be perceived as dull or monotonous but if you take away something to learn, our perception can change as there will be passion. Take writing as an example. If not for writers' passion in writing, you will not be appreciating their published works. Writing is not a job or hobby in itself but encompasses different expressions, unexplored ideas and unravels the mysterious dimensions of a writer's mind. Passion is also the reason we listen to a song over and over again.


Failed attempts are actually disguised practices. Attaching failure to the number of attempts undermines learning and we can improve if we warm up to failure and see it as an alternative to practice. We have to remember that a successful outcome is not created without a process. An analogy to show the relation between process and outcome is origami. Folding a sheet to make a well defined sculpture requires precision. Although the successive folding represents repetition, the quality of the finished product is determined by how mindful we are in the process of folding. Repetition tests our patience.


Using the same example of the origami, each fold has various angles to bring us to the shape that we desire. This represents how the same problem can be overcome by having alternative solutions if the problem keeps appearing. It's pretty much like how we can arrive at a destination using different routes. We will also be able to find out the most suitable solution that suits our needs. Maybe a change of environment but doing the same thing helps us to think more clearly like reading in a more peaceful space.

Ideas and Connections
Ideas and Connections


Repetition forms connections. We may come across an idea and find that we can incorporate the same idea into another situation. This shows that you are able to make connections by using a repeated idea because the idea is relatable. Or maybe we feel a connection with something because it triggers a memory from the past. We feel connected to those who think alike.


"Will you give me a second chance? " is a question that's popular when expectations are not met. It is a pending approval but where there is repetition, we can see them as recurring chances. Repetition extends hope or opportunity, whichever way you see it. When we have the determination to do something even if it means repeating a course of action, this brings us closer to winning chances. It can be compared with bowling, where you have to try until you hit all the pins.


Repetition as an art form is clearly shown in architecture, the tiles we see and many more. How is it that we can admire patterns that repeat like polka dots but find some routine activities boring? Repeated patterns serve as a reminder to see beauty in everything when we are too focused on the many times we do the same thing. It is like an externalization of the beauty in repetition.


We may stumble upon different results for every time we do the same thing. It's the reason why we have trial and error. It's like how we may suddenly like the taste of food we once disliked when we give it another try. Time changes tastes, views and so much more. There is so much to learn in repetition if you know where to look.


Repetition is the actions that we do every day. It's waking up to the sound of the alarm clock and brushing our teeth. There is life in the present moment while we may be unaware of it when we do our morning routine. It's in a teacher's love to teach children every day or in the continuous support we receive from family and friends. However, another way of looking at life in terms of repetition is repetition lives in the background. The earth always spins on its axis and life goes on from day to night.

Symbolic of Life
Symbolic of Life


Ever thought that a broken record is annoying? It's because the song is on replay but we have become used to it. But are we really listening to the words or dismissing it for its repetition? This brings us to the topic of understanding. When we read a passage for the first time, it's easy to glaze over and get the gist of the meaning. However, on the second attempt, our understanding deepens and our perspective may change even. Repetition builds on our patience by asking us to slow down and reflect. Our mind cannot be fragmented like the way a broken record plays.


As much as a broken record is passionate in annoying us, sometimes repetition is what we need to go beyond our limits. Repetition is the reason why we never give up. It's the human instinct for survival. To keep finding food in the forest. It's the saying, 'Never give up' that rings throughout our lifetime. It's a typical phrase but very useful when we need the strength to carry on and think positively.


Repetition brings us back to reality. It's in our recall of a past memory and our questioning of whether you want to live in that experience again. It's like a fight and flight response that warns us of what brings us down and how we can respond appropriately to the situation again.

© 2019 Li-Jen Hew


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