Don’t let it grieve you, don’t let it peeve you
If the guy in front of you marches off and he leaves you
Don’t get blue, kid, you ain’t stupid
You’re just marchin’ to the rhythm of a different drum, son
-John D Loudermilk, Follow your Drum
Just as we all have a unique path, we all have a unique pulse: a native rhythm and cadence within which we do our best work.
Productivity is like playing an instrument: you can’t just play hard. You also have to play on beat.
If you’re playing the right tune to the wrong rhythm, the sounds you generate will be indistinguishable from noise. Good music isn’t just about the correct notes. It’s about having an intuitive sense for when you should take a pause, when you should slow down, when you should speed up, and so on.
This is what Duke Ellington was getting at when he wrote, “It don’t mean a thing. If it ain’t got that swing.”
You can be headed in the right direction, but still feel off if your stride is dictated by someone else’s tempo.
You’ll always be in the weeds as long as you’re orientating your creative process around someone else’s speed.
Don’t just stay in your lane. Stay in your groove.
Don’t just follow your dreams. Follow your drum.
The only way to win this race is to take the time to dictate your own pace.