I was playing a guitar riff yesterday that just didn’t sound right. I had the right notes and the right timing, yet it didn’t sound the way I heard it in my head — loose, fluid, natural. I increased my focus and gripped the neck. I hammered down each finger onto the strings perfectly. Still, something was missing. Something intangible.
After twenty minutes of playing it over and over, I stopped to stretch my hand and noticed how tight my fingers felt. That’s when it hit me — I was holding on too tight. I relaxed my grip and my fingers began to dance up and down the guitar neck. Finally, I heard the relaxed, fluid sound that was stuck in my head.
Often, we hear that we need to attack our goals. We need to buckle down and really go after it. We grasp onto our plans and thoughts tightly in an effort to make them a reality. But think about your goals: Diet, exercise routine, career path, the people in your life — What happens when we hold on too tight to these things? We’re met with frustration, disappointment, and (the greatest sin of all) wasted time.
When we replace rhythm with rigidity, we lose.
Holding ourselves to a high standard is a great, but the path we take to achievement doesn’t need to be exactly as we’ve laid out in our minds. Goals, plans, people — they all change. The way we feel about them changes. It’s when we loosen the reins that new paths appear. It’s when we relax our minds that we become ready for the change in key.
If you’ve found the timing but are missing the rhythm, you may just need to loosen up.