Sun Tzu's six rules regarding how repetition creates patterns for surprise.
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This article explains that, while a single surprising event can determine success in a given meeting over the length of a competitive campaign requires multiple surprises. The problem is that when repeated, a surprise ceases to be surprising. Because we are human, we gravitate toward patterns of behavior. We repeat what has worked in the past. We use regular cycles of specific actions at certain times in a particular order. People fall into these patterns because they are comfortable and make life easier because fewer decisions are required. People fall into these formulaic patterns even when they attempting to surprise people. Everyone who regularly watches horror movies is familiar how the "cat jumping out of closet" surprise is set-up but movie makers still use it because they know that it has worked well in the past.