Tag Archive for: repetition

Groundhog Day

Every six weeks, Monic and I return to Schiphol Airport.
In the beginning of our mission, the pattern was arrivals on a Tuesday and departures on a Thursday.
Now, departures and arrivals all happen on the same day, a Friday.
We’re often there in between, for many other reasons too.
Regardless, we have a deep familiarity with Schiphol and our 42 day, six-week cycle.
Over these last 2 ½ years of consistent practice, we have learned many lessons.
Do you remember the 1993 movie Groundhog Day?
In the movie Bill Murray’s plays a cynical weatherman, who for some reason gets stuck in a repetitive time loop.
Repeating the same cycle over and over again (that was our 23rd last week) reminds me of the story line of the movie.
In the movie, through consistent practice, Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors, learns how to be remarkably resourceful by turning a challenging day into a great day.


During the course of the movie, he 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒔.
The lesson?
The more you focus on others by serving, being grateful and appreciative, the happier you will be.
In real life, through consistent practice, each missionary learns how to be remarkably resourceful by turning many challenging days into many great days.
Each missionary 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒔.
Likewise, their final day, is also a challenging one.
Transformed, these young men and women depart for home having become some of our dearest friends.
We all struggle to say farewell.
Departures are emotion filled, with tears of sadness and hugs aplenty.
In between their arrival and departure, we’ve experienced so much together – we’ve all 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐝.
Moments later, the arrivals are also emotion filled, but this time the tears are filled with joy, wonder, excitement, and hugs aplenty.
The journey ahead will transform them too.
Every time is the same, but different.
What am I learning over and over again?
We create our own reality, by living to learn and learning to live.
Over and over again, we have the choice to make today, and every day, either sad or happy, dull or inspiring, meaningless or fulfilling.
What will you choose today to make it great?


I was just married, living in Holland in 1994 and was struggling with the language. I’d like to share a learning lesson in a kaaspakhuis (cheese warehouse) in Woerden. My first job in the Netherlands!

Dutch cheeses are ripened for many weeks, sometimes for more than a year, and are often covered with a yellow plastic coating. The plastic coating is added layer upon layer to prevent the cheese from drying out – and at the same time turning the cheese regularly maintains an equal consistency After many days of practice and repetition – I became an expert at applying the plastic and turning the cheese. It was heavy, smelly work – row, after row with shelves 12 cheeses high! I’ll never forget the smell, nor the improvement in my physical fitness & strength over the course of a few weeks of constant repetition!

I’m not exactly sure of the psychology or the science, but what I do know is, that when we repeat something over and over – it becomes easier to learn.

In simple terms repetition enhances our learning. We learn by doing. Zig Ziglar observed that “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”

The key to real learning is repetition.

What repeated learning will you embark upon today?