Stuff I’m Learning: The Sounds of Routine

Twyla Tharp

Author Steven Pressfield once wrote about the daily routine of world-renowned dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp on his blog. The routine was simple and Twyla said it helped play a big par in her becoming the dancer and creative force that she is. She woke at 5:30am (whether she wanted to or not), put her sweats on, walked outside, hailed a cab to take her to her gym, and would then work out for 2 hours.

The routine though was not the workout.

It was the cab.

It was the “THWACK” of the taxi door closing and telling the driver where to take her.

The routine was what she could control.

Will shooting a 3 pointer

About 18 months ago, Will told us he wanted to play on the high school basketball team. We were super excited for him, but slightly concerned as he had never played basketball before and would be competing against kids who’d been playing their whole life.

Knowing he had an uphill battle, Will created a routine (much like Twyla Tharp) and started opening two specific doors in our house.

The side door that leads to our driveway is big and thick and tends to shake the walls with a huge “THWUMP” when it’s closed. Conversely, the door that leads from inside our house to the garage is hollow and much lighter, and makes a “Fwilp” sound against the weather-stripping and when it’s closed.

A “THWUMP” means he’s headed outside for dribbling and shooting drills.

A “Fwilp” means he’s in the garage to hitting the weights in our makeshift gym.

Almost every day for the past 1 ½ years I’ve heard the “THWUMP” and “Fwilp” of Will choosing to become a basketball player. I’ve heard the “THWUMP” and “Fwilp” of Will controlling the thing that he can control. I’ve heard the “THWUMP” and “Fwilp” of committing to a daily routine whether it’s day or night, blazing hot, freezing cold, raining, and most importantly when he’s tired and doesn’t feel like it.

Will’s transformation from a complete rookie to a confident and super talented basketball player has been incredible. His hard work and commitment have inspired me more than I will ever be able to fully convey, and he has taught me to listen to the noises of my routines for they are the soundtrack of who I am becoming.


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