How To Overcome The Curse Of Familiarity?

Have you ever wondered why some people cheat in relationships? Or why students cheat on exams even though they can study and take it honestly? Or even, why most hardworking employees tend to quit their jobs to easily? Well, It’s all because of the curse of familiarity.

Do you that the latest annulment rate here in the Philippines is over 40% and is increasing every year! Why? Most of them told the survey, it’s because they got bored. They got bored of the fighting, they got bored because their partners didn’t give the same love they gave before, they got bored because things were always the same and it never changed. 

Now, why do students cheat? Because they got tired of failing. Or if not, it’s because they don’t want to repeat the same subject year after year. For them, cheating is better than studying, because they have their goal – Avoiding the boredom of repeating the same subject again. And they will do anything just to avoid that.

The same way, why most hardworking employees quit their jobs. Because they have had enough of it. They got tired of going to the same cubicle every day, they got tired of being lectured by their boss, they got tired of doing the same work and talking to the same people EVERYDAY!

What Is The Curse Of Familiarity? 

It’s a point in our lives when we have had enough of the things that we constantly do every day. The instance when we are so immersed in one activity, that we end up getting used to it. Days become predictable, actions become useless, because all we can see is the endless loop of boring work. And all we can think of, is giving up.

curse of familiarity

If you ate fried chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day for 5 years straight. Would you be happy? Of course not! But, If that were to come true, what will happen to you? Well, technically you will have a heart attack from eating too much cholesterol. But, ultimately you’ll get tired of eating fried chicken. And soon enough, you will find yourself seeking other dishes that could satisfy your taste buds and spark that excitement in your life again.

There’s a reason why there are thousands of different dishes in the  world So, people won’t get tired of eating the same thing. No one likes to eat the same dish every day for the rest of their lives, the same way, no one like to do the same exact thing for the rest of their lives. We were meant to explore, to experiment and to try new things. But, familiarity destroys that. Familiarity destroys excitement, it destroys creativity because it forces you to do things, the same exact way that you have been doing it for the longest time.

An Unpleasing Experience

When I was 8 years old, before my school bus picks me up at home. My mom would always give me her signature “pabaon” (food takeaway), 2 pieces of pandesal (Salt bread) with margarine inside stuff in a regular sized paper bag. And for years, it never changed. I always ate the same exact food every time we were on the way to school.

I got so tired of its relentless taste that I just started giving it out to my classmates. Every time my mom would give me my “baon”, I would just hand it to my friends in the school bus. I even hated the lunch that my mother prepared for me (Yes, I was incredibly picky before). Why? Well, she would prepare and put it in my bag at 6 am and it will stay there for almost 6 hours until I can finally eat it.

And by the time I opened it, it’s already cold and soggy! So, again, I choose to give it to my friends because i didn’t like it, I got tired of eating the same cold and soggy lunch every day. So, I just decided to buy junk foods! It was way more tastier! And for almost 4 months, All i ate for breakfast and lunch was junk foods and soft drinks. I was happy at first, being introduced to new flavors and tasting more satisfying foods.

But, as time goes by. I got tired of the taste again. I was really eating unhealthy and I started to feel weak and clumsy. But, that wasn’t even the worst part. Suddenly, out of nowhere my stomach started to hurt so much I couldn’t move, like it was being squeezed from the inside. I kept on screaming until our teacher went up to me, picked me up and brought me to the nurse’s office.

The nurse checked me up, gave a couple of medicines and told me to sleep in the bed.  After a couple of hours, I woke up, surprised. My mom was there talking to the nurse, then after they finished talking, the nurse told me that I have gastritis – An inflammation in the lining of the stomach cause by unhealthy food consumption, bacteria and a lot of fats. Then, My mother turned to me and asked me “What have you been eating”. Of course I was afraid to tell the truth, so I said “I only ate the food that you gave me, mom”.

And it was all going to plan until the nurse interrupted and said “that can’t be the cause of the inflation, you’ve most likely been eating junk foods”. Then, my mom looked at me angrily and told me with an irritated face “Let’s talk later in the house”. After we got home, my mom was so furious with what I did – giving my food to my friends and wasting my money on junk foods, that she took away my pocket money to force to eat the food that she prepare every day. I said “Okay, but can you please cook other foods too” And she agreed. And from that they on, I never got tired of eating homemade foods again.

3 Key Lessons That I learned From That Experience

  1.  At some point in your life you will get tired of how things are

    – It’s inevitable. If you keep doing something over and over again with the exact same approach like  before, you are bound to be familiarized by  it. And as you know, familiarity kills excitement, it kills your motivation to grow more, do more and learn more in order to fast track your progress.

  2. It’s your duty to get familiarity out of  your life

    – Well. Who else will you depend on when it comes to your life? Of course yourself. No one can save you from the curse of familiarity, not your parents, not your siblings, not your friends. It’s all on YOU!

  3. Change will never come of you aren’t going to force it

    Change is like water in a well. Unless you’re willing to stoop down, grab a pale, get the water from below and raise it back up, it will never surface. That’s why there are thousands of people who are still suffering from the curse of familiarity, because they don’t want to change. What they want is to give up. Which is the exact opposite of what they should be doing. Take this with you, “If you’re tired of something, rest, think and find solution, but don’t you ever quit”.

So I guess one of the big questions are. Do all relationships have a bitter end? Or will all employees quit their jobs out of boredom and familiarity? Or will every student still continue to cheat on their exams? 

The answer is NO! Why? Because everyone can escape and overcome the curse of familiarity.

How To Overcome The Curse Of Familiarity?

curse of familiarity

It’s true, once you have succumbed to familiarity, it’s really hard to get out of it. But, there is a way! And the only way you can escape the curse of familiarity is by approaching your relationships, your work and your business in new ways everyday. It doesn’t have to be grand, but it has to be unique.

In relationships: Try out new things with your partners, go to different places or experience new things together and never let the love fade. Relationships are more enjoyable when some things happen unexpectedly, like on the spot dates, sudden trips and many more. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so spice it up a little. Don’t let it become dull and boring. 

In business and work: Approach it with a new mindset. Do your work with a whole new attitude and don’t be afraid to experiment. If you want to try new things on work or on your business, then go! Don’t be afraid of failure, because its normal. What’s important is you broke the “pattern”, your broke the familiarity.

In school: For the students, you don’t have to be afraid of repeating the subject. Because God is always with you. But, you can’t only rely on God the whole time, you also have to do your part. You won’t fail, if you believe that you will pass. But, that won’t happen unless you study hard. All in all, approach your studies like your life depends on it, and that will be enough to fuel you, and drive you out of familiarity.

There are multiple way to engage in life, what really matters is that you don’t only stick to one approach for the rest of your life, because it will always lead to familiarity, and that will kill the excitement, the purpose and the will to do what you have to do.

Some things happen unexpectedly, and that breaks the “familiarity pattern”. But, don’t wait for that chance, don’t wait for the moment that might never come. Become the change. Take control of your life and rid yourself of the curse of familiarity.


  1. Anita Dow

    June 20, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this Rehmil and the thinking behind it. I WILL take this with me as you suggest.
    “If you’re tired of something, rest, think and find solution, but don’t you ever quit”.
    Best Wishes
    Anita Dow
    PS – i love the name The Frugal Millionaire – it’s what I would like to be too. Good luck with your mission statement.

    1. Rehmil Panes

      June 21, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Thank you for your compliment anita. I’m glad that I was able to help another person in need 😀 Godspeed!

Leave a Reply