My partner and I have just discovered a fabulous ramen restaurant on Russell Street. Mr Yoshimura (the founder), is the ‘Ramen Champion’— a title he has held for multiple years—and his shop in Singapore once sold over 100,000 bowls of ramen within a year. That’s a lot of noodles.
This got me thinking about the repetitive routine tasks involved in producing that volume of ramen: thousands of litres of master stock, vegetable prep, cooking time and straining the noodles.
Some might call this sequence or pattern of tasks boring. Others might call it uninspiring. Yet, the sum of multiple distinct parts that make up a single bowl of ramen has created a champion and a reputable brand. How is this any different from the phone calls, emails, and daily service interactions you perform many times in a day that create your brand and reputation?
Often, we perform routine tasks for no special reason. But we are all human, so let’s be honest— routine tasks can be boring and uninspiring. One way to rise above routine tasks and find more joy and fulfilment is to think in terms of moments. Sometimes an ordinary moment for you is a defining moment for someone else. And rather than seeing a routine task as something you ‘have to do’, see it as something you ‘choose to do’.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says:
“Successful outcomes are never the result of a single choice. They are built up through good choices over time. A profitable business is never a choice, it is a series of choices. A fit body is never a choice, it is a series of choices. A strong relationship is never a choice, it is a series of choices.”
I wonder if the ‘Ramen Champion’ Mr Yoshimura made a choice to be a champion, to be a successful business owner and create a trusted brand that people love to visit. If so, it was the sum of his many routine tasks, inspired by this vision that led him to achieve this dream.