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"Rhythm of Greatness"

posted Aug 28, 2012, 8:50 PM by Vishal Jain
A priori, there appear to be two differing perspectives on greatness. The first is that great productions are the result of monumental ambitions. A great leader, a wonderful new promise of the future, a belief in a new vision that disrupts the old.

The Arab Spring exemplifies this sudden and disruptive change to the status quo in the Middle East, resulting from a perfect storm of civilian frustration and technological facility. Likewise the Taj Mahal represents the inspired effort of a king and his passion for respecting his queen's memory.

However, this opinion of greatness suggests that the people behind a great production are motivated purely by a new and outstanding vision. In other words, a break from the pattern, with no predictability. But we all know that since the days of bricklayers and laborers, people have used "work songs" to keep themselves motivated to complete the repetitive work of building a large production, following a "rhythm".

So is an inspired vision enough to commit multitudes of people to constantly engaging day after day, month after month, on a monument? I doubt it. We often fall in love with a great idea but then when we immerse ourselves in the sweat and labor of realizing this vision, our fascination fades. People revert to their natural rhythm of working.

Greatness, i argue, is the consequence of a visionary process. The pattern-breaking, monumental ambition must be quantized, and repeated. If the thinking and the work-process and the audacity of pattern-breaking itself can become the new status quo, then this new pattern becomes the work song of the weavers of greatness. This repeatable act that aggregates into a monument is what i call the Rhythm of Greatness. Humans do accomplish great things when inspired in new ways, but human also require a rhythm to keep to the beat of progress, and thus the original inspiration creates the most value when we quantize and institutionalize it.
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