I don't know if it started with The Miracle Morning, 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8am, but morning rituals are now becoming a big deal.
But for as long as I can remember, I've always had a morning routine. This has varied over the years, but for the past seventeen years it's pretty much remained the same. Now, I can already sense some eye rolling going on, like "My schedule is too varied to do the same thing, I don't have time and why would I do that?" But I promise you, that if you read all the way to the end, you'll get some useful tips, plus how to avoid the 8 defects of character.
Depending on where I awake, and the time available I have different versions or my morning ritual.
No day is ever perfect, and no matter how much we prepare,
life happens right? So I invite you to create 3 different versions of your morning ritual that you switch between, depending on how it fits in with your lifestyle. I'm not going to go into the details of what I do for my morning routine right now (I'll do that later on in this article). Why not?
Well, I actually wanted to tell you about something that came up for me during my morning ritual. What I wanted to share is the 8 Defects (of character).
Each morning, as part of my practice I reflect on things that I am dealing with, how to improve my character, and ways in which I can nurture and grow the qualities and strengths that I already have. Pretty standard stuff.
I was reading The Tao of Nature by Chuang Tzu, and I came across the 8 defects of character we are often liable to.
It struck a chord with me, not only because I could see in myself which ones I sometimes fall prey too, but also how it relates to some of the noise and pointless online debates I see on social media, between friends, family and strangers, that can often end ugly, and fracture relationships.
Chuang Tzu goes on to explain,
Futhermore, there are eight defects that people are liable to, as well as four evils that affect their affairs, which must not be ignored;
"To be involved with affairs that are not yours is to be overbearing.
To draw attention to yourself when no one wants you is to be intrusive.
To suck up to someone with speeches designed to please is to be sycophantic.
Not to distinguish between good and evil in what others say is to be a flatterer.
To gossip about others failings is to be slanderous.
To separate friends and families is to be malevolent.
To give false praise in order to hurt others is to be wicked.
Having no concern for wright or wrong, but to be two faced in order to find out what others know, is to be treacherous.
These eight defects cause disorder to others and harm to the perpetrator."
So how have I used this?
Well, I guard against falling into the trap of these eight defects, and correct myself where necessary. I'm also aware of these being present in others, and choose to surround myself with those who are free from the eight defects, or have the self awareness to call themselves out on it, and actively put in the work to correct that.
When you have people around like that, it makes a profound difference to the quality of your relationships, friendships and your day to day interactions. I invite you to put this into practice for yourself.
Cj Swaby's Morning Ritual (V.1)
Now, for those of you that wanted to know how I start my day here's what I do,
Then I get to it!
My morning routine is how I set myself up for the day. I find that when I don't do a version of my morning routine that my energy is off, the day doesn't go as well as could be, and that my sense of wellbeing is often not optimised, which doesn't set me up for a win whether in my relationships, or in my career.
Recently, I've also found huge benefit in "book ending" my day with a Night time ritual in a similar way, because as the saying goes, "It's not how you start, but how you finish that matters." (but that's another article).