Skip to content
Home » Seeking Resonance

Seeking Resonance

An oscillator, like a mass oscillating on a spring, has a natural frequency at which it oscillates in the absence of damping or an external driving force. But once you excite the oscillator with an external driving force at its natural frequency, its amplitude increases drastically. This phenomenon is called resonance in physics.

Resonance only occurs at the right frequency. If you’re hitting too fast or too slow, you’ll miss it.

And just like oscillators in physics, also people, projects, or places usually have their own natural frequencies at which they operate in the absence of external influences. Figuring out these natural frequencies, i.e. seeking resonance, can greatly help to move things forward, develop human relationships further, or advance projects.

As a framework, think of the ‘resonance factor’ or ‘response factor’ R of something:

R < 1 means damping. These things drain energy, they have to be pushed actively otherwise they wouldn’t move forward. Projects get stuck. Conversations with people come to an end. These things suck energy from you.

R = 1 is indifferent. A question gets exactly one answer, employees do duty by the book, and things move forward as planned but won’t run further by themselves.

R > 1 indicates resonance. One message triggers a myriad of associations, further messages, or even joint projects, projects create win-win situations and “run by themselves”, 1 + 1 = 3.

Again, resonance, R > 1, occurs only if you hit the right frequency. Slow-moving projects won’t magically move fast if you hit fast. Don’t expect quick responses from reflected people that need time to think before they decide.

Yet, be wary of people, projects, and things that keep sucking energy from you, i.e. where R < 1. You should be conscious of why you keep spending energy on these. Especially as you’re trying to solve cold start problems, look for those with R > 1. And let your winners ride – keep pushing R > 1.