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Rhythm And
Momentum
Written Sunday 08/07/05 by Joseph Rossini

There are many ways to interpret the Rhythm and Momentum. Youíll find these words used in the context of music, physics, sports, investing, and hundreds of games, tasks, skills and disciplines. For this lesson, weíll attempt to establish their importance in building knowledge and skills and how they affect peak performance.

Music and dancing are the first two skills or disciplines that come to mind when one thinks of the word rhythm. Many will contend that genetics can play a role in oneís rhythmic abilities. Thereís probably some truth to this in both of these skills. However, for this discussion we will stray from the usual music and dancing interpretations and move on to how these concepts affect achieving any type of task. From my own experiences, I have found that I developed the rhythm and momentum for accomplishing many tasks and activities, by a sheer number of experiences and repetitions. Letís look at a very basic example from my days in high school. As a student working part time in an office, one of the tasks I was given was stuffing envelopes. When I performed this task for the first time, I felt awkward and my speed or production was slow. Then I developed a rhythm for performing this simple task and my speed gradually increased. After I fine-tuned my technique and rhythm by performing thousands of repetitions, my speed incrementally increased. Finally after mastering this task, I just needed to get into rhythm each time and then watch momentum kick into high gear as I reached peak performance.

Stuffing envelopes is obviously a very simple example of developing rhythm and taking advantage of momentum to perform at your peak. However, this theory can apply to many other job functions, skills and disciplines. A key point to note here is you must continue practicing your rhythm and not quit or get discouraged during the awkward stages. You must continue to develop better techniques to get the tasks you perform accomplished more efficiently. Then perform hundreds or thousands of repetitions en-route to achieving an optimum state of rhythm, to perform tasks and skills efficiently and let the power of momentum kick into gear.

Itís very important at this point, to understand that even when you have honed your skills to peak efficiency in any activity Ė you will not always perform at peak rhythm. For example, pro basketball players develop their shooting skills through years of repetition and practice. By the time they reach the pros they have probably shot a basketball more than a million times. Yet on any given night, they may lose their rhythm and play terribly. Basketball is a great sport to illustrate how rhythm and momentum play a major role in success. When players on one team are in better rhythm than their opponents, they are playing offense and defense in classic style. As their rhythm peaks Ė momentum kicks in and they are running up big scoring leads. Time outs are often called by the coach of the team that is getting beat. He needs to re-group his teamís strategy and rhythm. Many times the losing team then comes out and finds needed their rhythm and momentum and the score is tied in a matter of minutes. At the end of the game, the winner is usually determined by who kept their rhythm and momentum going the longest over the 48 minute game.

Another important factor in maintaining rhythm is to be able to focus on near flawless execution of your task or activity, or your rhythm and momentum can be abruptly interrupted. As an example in football, a fumble or interception occurring to an offensive team in great rhythm and ready to score, can stop progress and reverse the momentum of the game. It only takes one incident to change the course from victory to defeat. Thus, you cannot take anything for granted, even when you are at peak rhythm and momentum.

Developing knowledge and new skills and then honing them to proficient levels, has to be one of the most satisfying accomplishments in life. However, in the beginning stages of learning or acquiring skills, you must be prepared for frustration and disappointment. Great teachers and coaches prepare their students for disappointment and provide the encouragement they need to face all the obstacles that appear overwhelming. Students need to believe in their teachers or coaches and ultimately must believe in themselves. It's always easier to quit than to face embarrassment or frustration that comes with learning new skills. Like all great achievements in life, you must be willing to sacrifice time and resources to learn new skills. You need to learn and practice the same basic fundamentals that enabled others before you to achieve proficiency. Then after paying your dues, you will be ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor and persistence. Understanding rhythm and momentum in the early stages of learning can greatly enhance all of the achievements you set sail to accomplish. Enjoy the process and always strive to be the BEST you can be!


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