Posted by: Bill Griffin | October 5, 2009

Sympathetic Resonance

Bill Griffin #10 Thumb In the beginning of any endeavor there has to be some sort of self analysis. Can I take a photography course? Am I to old to go back to College? What will my life be like if I choose to sell the house and buy an RV? How will others perceive me if I decide to write and publish my memoirs? How can I change my career when this is the only way I ever made a living? Can I go into business for myself? Do I have what it takes to________fill in the blank?

  After the entire mind numbing analysis there is still doubt and unanswered questions. You need to bounce your idea off others. You ask advice from family, friends, colleagues, mentors, professionals, and associates. What do they say about your dream?

  In the 1600’s Christian Huygens invented the pendulum clock. He displayed his clocks on the walls of a room, where each pendulum swungpendulum clock independently. Huygens discovered that, after a while, all the pendula began to swing in precise, synchronized rhythm. He theorized that the clocks’ sound waves entered the walls, which responded with their own vibrations, there by bringing the clocks into a single rhythm. Huygens’ theory is now a well excepted law of physics, known as “sympathetic resonance.”

  As you begin to dream, your dreams rhythm will be affected just like the response of the walls to all the other sound waves in the room. So do your dreaming in the company of “clocks” whose rhythm you want to emulate.

  As a child, when you wanted something, you knew which adult to ask, knowing who would be more supportive of your goal. As a student you knew which teacher to approach. Even now, you know which supervisor, boss or colleague will create the vibrations most harmonious to your own.

  If you are thinking about fulfilling your dream, hang around people that are working toward theirs. Don’t try to work amidst the din of naysayers Bill Griffin encouragement and negative nellies. Don’t mingle with the “can not’s” and “non doers.”  Their vibrations, like the walls of the clocks, will cause you to swing in sync with them. They will deter you from your dream.                                                        

  The vibrations of such naysayers are predictable. You must surround your self with people who understand dreams. So, if you decide to run that marathon, talk with fellow joggers. If you insist on going into business for your self, speak with entrepreneurs. If you choose to travel the world, reach out to those who have done it before you.  Stay away from dream killers and embed yourself in sympathetic resonance.

  How do you handle naysayers? Who are your positive reinforcements? Please write back, I would love to know.



  1. Geesh, these are becoming repetitive and challenging to respond to, Billy. “Well done” becomes trite. “Kudos” becomes redundant. Again you are “hitting it out of the park,” especially with entrepreneurs. (I hope your Red Sox do.)

    Naysayers – I smile quietly, make my eyes sparkle a bit more and after a pause wish them well in search of their dream. That is usually silences the negativity (jealousy) and if they persist I simply walk away remarking I am off to have more fun in pursuit of my dream tasting success bite size as I start.

    Keep writing!

    • Thanks Greg,

      Good advice, leave the situation. Persuading the negative will only suck you in.

  2. EXCELLENT Post! What else is there to say?
    Here’s a corallary to go along with this excellent advice: “We become what we think about most of the time” – a quote from a famous individual whose name escapes me at the moment. Bottom line is – if you associate with the naysayers most of the time, your ‘self talk’ will become negative, leading you into a downward spiral. If on the other hand, you associate mainly with those who encourage, your ‘self talk’ will be positive, which will enable you to achieve your dream(s).

    How do I handle the naysayers? Like Greg,
    I’ll be quiet and acknowledge their right to their opinion, however – and THIS IS THE KEY PART, – I’ll IMMEDIATELY say to myself a POSITIVE statement rebutting the negative statement of the naysayer. I do this inside my head so the other person doesn’t hear it. The important thing is to replace the negative thought – with a POSITIVE one. This keeps you out of the negative & downward spiral. in this life, attitude is everything – with a positive attitude, you CAN accomplish your derams! Go for it!!!

    • Thanks Dave,

      I like that very much– “IMMEDIATELY say to myself a POSITIVE statement.” Sometimes when your bleeding for advice, you can get caught up in naysayers. Especially if it is a person you admire and it takes you off guard. Positive Self talk.

  3. It’s true what is said: “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” (Marcus Aurelius). I think he said it first, and then it was repurposed along the way.

    Easier said than done, many times, but good advice nonetheless.

  4. Good advise indeed Matt,

    And with that, always remember thought precedes action.

    Cool, this is getting quite philosophical.

  5. Excellent article!!! At the age of 41 I left my 19 year finance career and went back to school for an interior design degree. I was so fortunate to have the encouragement of my husband and kids. Even when I doubted myself they would cheer me on. At school it was so empowering to be in an educational environment that encouraged me to be the best I could be without any judgement as to my age or the background I came from.

    I have found that the naysayers are those that have either accepted the status quo or given up that they are capable of something more or different. Misery loves company and they have lost the ability to relate to someone who has dreams and aspirations so it is easier to criticize what they can no longer comprehend.

    Thanks for the positive thoughts and for teaching me the concept of Sympathetic Resonance, I hadn’t heard of it before but now I won’t forget it.

    • Thank you Vicki,

      A perfect example! Dream..Doubt.. Encouragement…Result. A symphony of sympathetic resonance. I’m sure your family is very proud of you, I know I am.

  6. Excellent post, Bill.
    Well, as a revered philosopher (my mother) once said, “Dont run yourself down, there are plenty of people out there who will do it for you.”
    Often naysayers and doubters give us a chance to test our course of action or thought. If we believe in that action or thought then we should learn to defend it in a rational and cogent manner. Even if its only within the confines of our own fairly large brains.
    Thank God for those with the courage of their convictions or I might be turning over all the corn I grew on my feudal plot to the Lord of the Manor. All you Micks can substitute potatoes for corn.
    Thats it for the non-sequiturs.

  7. Thanks Don,

    Well put, I think.
    The naysayer test..don’t let them grade it. Dream, courage, and conviction trumps the doubters.

  8. The things you learn and forget about
    “sympathetic resonance.” Thank you very much for the reminder and a really meaningful article.
    best regards

    • Thanks Julio,

      Happy to jostle some memories.

  9. Bill
    Another great blog. I’m impressed by the thought and creativity you put into each one.

    I agree with what you are saying. Being with people who can bolster your confidence can change your outlook. I speak from personal experience.

    Keep up the good work.


    • Thanks Michele,

      Good to see we’re in agreement.

  10. The most important decision we can make daily is how we choose to respond to situations. Choosing to have a positive attitude will make all the difference in the world. You may not be able to stay away from the naysayers but you can choose how to deal with them.
    Great article and great responses from everyone.
    Thanks Bill, keep up the great blogs.

    • Thank you Betsy,

      I like your point on choosing. We as people can only control two things in this world, our actions and our attitudes. We can choose to commiserate and wallow or we can choose to be proactive and constructive. We can also choose our companions.

  11. Billy,
    Great blog. I’ve forwarded it to a coaching client who in turn is an Achievement Coach for young adults. They here naysayers constantly. All of us do to some degree. The key to me is remembering that self esteem and self confidence are totally dependent on ME, thus the use of the word self. When that starts to get shaky, I contact one of my many influencers, any one of which will remind me why I’m on the path I’m on.
    Thanks again. @wcellis

  12. Thanks Bill,

    In some cases the barrage of negativity can be overwhelming. Self doubt is natural and so should be self appraisal. To thy own self be true- is not just cliché.

    Thanks for passing this along.

  13. Hey Billy,
    Great reminder that we live our life playing to the level of talent that we chose to surround ourselves with. When someone is negative we can accept that is where they are, and that we can’t bring them with us.

    Dorothy Johnson

    • Thanks Dorothy,

      Yes I agree acceptance is key. This resolve will adjust your pathway.

  14. Bill, Excellent points! Thanks for sharing. As for the naysayers…. I avoid them like the plague! 🙂

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