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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Change your resonant frequencies + inventory your idols

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

A man at the computer not coming to bed because "someone is wrong on the internet"

1 idea: Change your resonant frequencies

“It is not life’s events that are causing problems or stress. It is your resistance to life’s events that is causing this experience.” – Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

In 1972, Ella Fitzgerald starred in a memorable commercial for Memorex cassette tapes. The clever stunt features Fitgerald singing the final notes of “How High the Moon” and shattering a wine glass with her amplified voice. Since then, Mythbusters and many others have tested the counterintuitive idea that a voice alone can shatter glass. (You can do it if you’re able to hit a high C at about 90 decibels.)

The ironic thing about this science experiment is not that some sounds can break glass but that most do not. If you cranked up the bass on your subwoofer and played “Another One Bites the Dust” loudly near the same glass, the only impact you’d achieve would be a mild headache and maybe some annoyed neighbors. Unless the music hits the resonant frequency of the glass, the sound waves simply pass through and the glass is unphased.

I've noticed this phenomenon in my own life. We've faced a number of issues as we've tried to move into a new house: broken appliances, failed construction projects, and financing roadblocks to name a few. But despite these hurdles, I've been surprised to notice that I’ve been largely undisturbed by them. Like the sound waves from Queen’s 1980 hit, these events simply pass right through me. At the same time though, I found myself ruminating on a few snarky comments from someone in my community. These off-handed remarks irritated me, and I've had the hardest time letting them go. They touched my resonant frequency, and the vibrations they created were not positive.

Here's the great news, though: unlike wine glasses, we can choose to change our own resonant frequencies. We can learn to let go of our unmet expectations. We can stop worrying about what others think of us. For my situation, that means releasing the need to be respected by other people. Once I can become ok with not being understood or appreciated by everyone, I take back the control that I’ve given to this person over my emotional state. Instead of becoming angry or anxious whenever I’m slighted, I can remain peaceful and joyful knowing that my worth and identity are secure. As soon as  I let go of my fears, those words just become harmless sound waves.


What about you?

  • What are your resonant frequencies? Make a list of all the situations that regularly disturb you.

  • What’s the need or expectation that’s being unmet in each of these situations?

  • How could you shorten the list of things that you need in order to be okay?

1 resource: Inventory your “idols”

Another way of thinking about our resonant frequencies is with the concept of idols. As the late Tim Keller says, “idolatry is turning a good thing into an ultimate thing.” By worshipping success or acceptance or power, these good things become necessary for our well-being. Translation: we're enslaved to them. 

Book cover of Crucial Conversations

If you’re not sure what the idols are in your own heart, you can do a deeper dive through this two-page inventory. Check it out, and let me know what you think!


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