Discover the Secret that Empowered Steve Jobs to Make Cutting-Edge Innovations the Norm
Transformational leadership is about moving from one set of results — that most people might see as successful, but reasonable…
Into whole new levels of results that most people can barely dream of.
Sometimes, the results you want to create are so far beyond what you’re currently experiencing that others – and maybe even you – may believe that they’re impossible to achieve.
One of the 7 hidden laws of leadership can help you overcome disbelief — and transform “impossible” results into your everyday reality.
In this series of articles, we’re studying the 7 Hidden Laws of Leadership, which are seven fundamental principles that are not deeply studied in most leadership programs.
These seven principles explain the extraordinary and lasting impact of innovative, even revolutionary, leaders such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Edison and more.
Last week, we covered the first principle, The Law of Essential Self, which states that exemplary leadership begins with being an authentic leader.
Today, we’ll continue our series by exploring the second principle, The Law of Distorted Reality.
How Distorting Reality Improves Leadership
The Law of Distorted Reality states that “Reality is defined in the mind of the leader. Decide and lead from the intended result.”
The fundamental basis for this law comes from Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, where he says, “The perspective that you’re holding affects what you believe to be real.”
Legend holds that Einstein hit upon his theory while riding a bicycle, which can be used to explain the theory as follows:
If I’m riding a bicycle at the speed of light alongside a train, what appears to be real to me — and what appears to be real from the perspective of a person on the train — is actually different. The question is which one is actually real?
When you begin to understand that what we believe to be real — that is, the “reality” that we’re living in — is made up in many ways by the perspective that we’re holding.
According to the theory of relativity, “reality” is made up of two things:
- The perspective that you have
- The speed or the motion at which you’re moving
What we know today is that there are many other aspects that affect what you believe is real and what isn’t real.
We’ve come to understand that what you believe to be real — and then the actions that you take based on that belief — literally change what is real. You have the ability to help form what is real by changing your perspective.
The Master of Distorted Reality
One of the greatest business leaders who understood the Law of Distorted Reality was Steve Jobs, who was revered and much discussed among his executives for having what they called a “reality distortion field.”
Steve Jobs had a set of things that he believed were real. He proceeded to infuse his belief of what was real into all of the people he worked with, and they began to believe that just maybe the vision that he was holding in his mind was possible. They believe that maybe he could shift reality.
As his team began to work on creating his vision of reality, their efforts and belief literally changed the results. The vision that he held in his mind became the reality that he was living.
One of the things that he said in an interview sticks with me to this day. He said, “When you figure out at some point in your life that the world has been made up by people no smarter than you, your life will forever be changed.”
You get to make up your reality. So make it up however you want it to be.
From 100+ Overweight to Record-Holding SEAL
I’m finishing up a great leadership book right now by former Navy SEAL David Goggins, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.
Goggins dreamed of being a Navy SEAL, but when the dream first hooked his attention, he was miles away from being a qualified candidate by all standard measures.
An Air Force dropout, he was living paycheck to paycheck as an exterminator and was more than 100 pounds over the Navy’s weight limit of 191 pounds for a man his height.
He was nowhere near the kind of physical fitness it takes to become a Navy SEAL.
When Goggins first approached a recruiter about joining the Navy SEALs, the reality he was told was, “You don’t qualify. We won’t take you. You’ll never be a Navy SEAL.”
Recruiter after recruiter after recruiter gave him the same denial. Finally, though, he met a recruiter who, rather than telling him, “No,” told him what it would take to qualify.
Goggins began to shift the reality of his life moment by moment, day by day, by holding a vision of becoming a Navy SEAL.
He began to distort reality into the shape that he wanted.
He went on to become a Navy SEAL and did many other amazing things in his life.
Goggins is the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces ever to complete SEAL training, U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training.
He’s competed in more than sixty ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five.
He’s also a former Guinness World Record holder for completing 4,030 pull-ups in seventeen hours.
Pretty impressive for someone who started more than 100 pounds over his qualifying weight, right?
Imagine how his life would have turned out if he had accepted all of those recruiters’ pronouncements of what his reality was and would continue to be.
The Law of Distorted Reality: Decide and Lead
Once you’ve decided what reality you want, your next step is to lead from that intended reality.
Act as if that reality has already come to pass, and watch as your belief begins to infuse the people and environment around you.
As you and your team begin operating as if your envisioned reality exists, you’ll find that the decisions you make and actions you take start to construct your vision as a physical reality – just like Steve Jobs did with his team and innovative products.
Experiment with this concept on a small scale. Decide how you want to feel at the end of the week. Decide what you want to accomplish and what “greatness” will feel and look like.
Then lead — just for this week — as if that reality is already here. Notice how differently you feel, the energy with which you tackle your day, how this new attitude changes your decisions and actions.
And then share your observations below! I’d love to hear what you notice and experience.
Shape Your Reality
Reality is defined in the mind of the leader. Decide what you want, lead from that intended reality, and absolutely, you will begin to shape the reality.
Remember, the world we’re living in is the creation of leaders who have gone before us — leaders who distorted reality to fit their vision.
You have this power, too. Decide what you want, then make it happen.
See you next week.