Notes on doing it — Day #40: The power of rituals

How to deal with the things you can’t control

Fighter Pilot


Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

The danish word for torture is “tortur”. And the danish word for train ride is “togtur”. Did you notice how similar those words look? It’s no coincidence. In Denmark our national train operator is called DSB. DSB should stand for Devil’s Sick Business. They make it hell to travel across this country which is an impressive feet in itself when you consider how tiny it is. Unfortunately for me, I’ve had to book such a hell trip.

This upcoming train ride has made me think about how I can make the experience more pleasent. That’s when I was reminded about a study where researchers found that we increase our enjoyment of the things we consume, when we perform a ritual beforehand.

Now the study tested this with both chocolate and carrots which turned out to have the same effect. You enjoy chocolate more when you perform a simple ritual before putting it in your mouth like breaking apart the chocolate before removing the wrapping.

Interesting, but trust me when I say this: Traveling with Devil’s… I mean DSB is as far from eating chocolate or even carrots as you can come. So performing a little dance before stepping aboard the train probably won’t make the experience any less shitty.

And yet! Maybe there’s still hope: Researcher Michael Norton from Harvard Business School takes the research in this field a step further. According to him, rituals also help us when we are mourning. Mourning! Now we are talking.

In many cultures people wear black when they lose a person close to them. The loss makes us feel like we lose control. According to Michael Norton we implement rituals to feel like we are regaining control of our lives.

Wearing black is definitely a great idea when traveling with DSB as you never know what substances there might be on the seats. But let’s focus on this control thing.

One of the pains of traveling with DSB and public transportation in general is the loss of control. You have no saying in when the train will depart or arrive at your destination. Yes you can pick or choose a certain departure, but chances are, at least with DSB, that nothing on your ticket will stand true once…



Fighter Pilot

Fighter pilot reject taking notes on how to follow your dreams. I’m publishing those notes right here every day.