Personal Rhythms

— Feb 2012

Meditation is, in one sense, about becoming aware of your own rhythms. Beginners are taught to focus solely on their breath. Air in, air out.

Recently, I’m paying more attention to personal rhythms. Micro and macro. Improving old work, brainstorming for new work, knowing when to speak up and when to be silent, when to go home and when to hang out for another hour.

I have a tendency to scoff out loud at existing patterns, the lines in the sand that people follow out of habit. But this is natural: people settle into their own rhythms so they can worry about other problems. I try to stay aware of this, to remember that I usually have no idea what I’m talking about, and to limit who sees my ranting.

But I like what Kelli Anderson says about her way of working. For every project, she figures out everything that she hates about the conventional approaches, and proceeds to rage and spit at them, and then tries to channel all of that energy into taking an opposite approach. This is how many of her projects turn out fantastic.

I see a similar rhythm in the way I like to work. Build up a set of frustrations, in public or in private, and then use them as fuel to light a path forward.