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Monday, 18 October 2021 | Vinayshil Gautam


Routine is one of the two legs of human existence, innovation is the other

Life is full pf paradoxes. The celebrated doers, thinkers, writers have a way of capturing what they have seen as the’ truth’ and verbalising it. Sometimes the ‘truths’ are easy to understand, sometimes abstruse. Mark Twain reportedly said, “Never fail to pay yourself a compliment; it may be your only chance to get one”. This is a straight forward quip with a touch of humour and irony. Some of his other, reported, quotes are a little more complex and perhaps difficult to comprehend. For instance,”For each one kills the thing he loves”. One has, at times, tried to make sense of the second quote. Some claim that they can approximate what he could have meant. That is another story. The central part of this narrative is to focus on common place remarks which capture some truth in life. One of my favourite quotes is, “Keeping up with the routine is far more demanding than trying hands at innovation”. When this remark is used in a public forum, sometimes, one gets reactions which total up to saying, “routine is routine, what is difficult with keeping up with it”. The truth of life is that one lives in an era where amongst the buzz words, ‘innovation’, perhaps, tops the list. People are never tired of pleading for ‘innovation’ or trying to put it across as the ultimate need of life. It is a need. One does not know whether it is the ‘ultimate’ need or not. Of course, innovation is necessary. That is also how, change could take place to keep pace with changing requirements. However, many empiricists have found that scope for practice of innovation is bounded in many ways. This includes real world realities or time needed for the body to rejuvenate. These are two limiting items, among several constants, which cannot and will not change. It is keeping up with the routine that is so essential to keep the body as a functioning and an effective system. Similar is the story in collective living or routine of livelihood. One may move from cash to bitcoins, but the reference point of an intermediary, referred to as ‘money’ as a medium of exchange of goods, services, etc., is a constant. Thus, it is that life of innovation is bound by the domain of operation of the subject, nature of material, etc. It is the ‘routine’ which also provides formidable challenges.

The body needs a given number of hours of rest in a 24-hour cycle to repair its cells, rest its organs and unwind the stresses. This is best serviced through regular habits. Usually, the period for rest is supposed to come somewhere between sunset and sunrise, if it is in the tropical zones.  The human body attuned to a 24-hour cycle needs a minimum of 6-8 hours rest. This may vary from one point of the life cycle to another, say between youth and old age.  However, the range of variation remains limited. Routine is one of the two legs on which human existence walks. The other is innovation. In the interest of holistic living, almost equal thought needs to be given to the maintenance and improvement of servicing the routine requirements of life. Since the other leg on which human life moves is innovation, that too is important. As of now, it appears that the challenges and the needs of innovation are fairly wellrecognised. The challenges and the needs of routine need equal thought and servicing. A life well balanced, between thought through routine (serviced with determination) when balanced by innovative thinking and action, provides a good charter of success and effectiveness.

(The writer is a well-known management consultant. The views expressed are personal.)

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