People may try to pull you into their rhythm to put you at a disadvantage. Consciously or not, they want you off your rhythm because they understand that if they can throw you off, you are liable to make a decision or act in a way that is more suitable to their needs.
Think of aggressive sales tactics that pressure you into buying because of limited time (“SALE ENDS TOMORROW!” “INVENTORY GOING FAST!”). They know that the pressure of time, that is, putting you off a rhythm that would allow you to make a proper decision, will be most beneficial to them, but not necessarily you.
Or what about the hot-headed boss, colleague, or client who is forever getting everyone’s heart rate jumping—forcing an accelerated rhythm—by screaming at them or denigrating them. They are throwing everyone off a rhythm that would have greater overall outcomes just so they can personally benefit at the expense of everyone else. They don’t want other people thinking for themselves because they assume their way is the only option.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who will obstinately try to slow you down because they know that delay means denial. We should be willing to give one another the courtesy of allowing each other time for a proper decision, but some people may want to rob you of an opportunity or contribution by slowing down the rhythm to such and extreme degree that it kills the initiative all together.
When working with other people to make progress or contribute in some meaningful way, mutual benefit should be the goal. Whether that’s in high-stakes negotiation, persuading someone at the water cooler to back an initiative, or exchanging money for services. All parties should be trying to operate on an agreeable rhythm. When you sense someone trying to throw you off your rhythm or you catch yourself trying to do the same, it’s time to reevaluate.
Be mindful of your situation and your rhythm and why you are operating on that frequency. Is it the best rhythm for your purposes? Will that rhythm allow you and others to make a proper decision about moving forward? If not, figure out why. Take a pause and determine what the right rhythm should be.
To find out more about he Power of the Pause, check out Self-leadership: The Art and Science of Control.