Quantum Leaps V
You probably know the following sentence: “You can also build something beautiful out of stones that are placed in your way.” People who have taken this to heart, have always made a masterpiece out of their lives. Difficulties then make sense. They use failure to build something beautiful. This is how they find the courage, to dare again and again. As Seneca said: “It is not because things are unattainable that we dare not. But, we don't dare, they remain unattainable."
What do you think of a man who
- went bankrupt at the age of 31,
- lost an election campaign at 32
- went bankrupt again at 34,
- had to overcome the death of his love at 35,
- had a total nervous breakdown at 36,
- lost another election at 38
- lost in Congress at 43
- lost in Congress at 46
- and lost in Congress at 48
- failed at 55 in the fight for a senator seat,
- missed his goal of becoming a vice president at 56,
- lost again in a fight for a Senator seat at 58
- and was elected President of the United States of America at 60?
It's Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, by his admission, needed all those defeats to become the man he eventually became. He needed all the bricks, thrown in his way, to build his career. With this in mind, we understand Dan Peña's next Quantum Leap theorem.
Quantum Leap Theorem 17: Do whatever it takes.
Explanation: There's no point in saying, "I'm doing my best." Rather, you must succeed by doing what is necessary, according to Winston Churchill. Why doesn't it make sense to say: We do our best or we have done our best? Because it's not true. Most of the time we don't even know what is best for us. Because our real best always arises from failures and defeats. We've never done our best when we give up.
I struggled with this thought for a long time. I thought, why would anyone keep banging their head against the wall? But of cause, I've known for a long time: That's not the point.
Not giving up doesn't mean we should do the same thing over and over again. Of cause, we can and should use our heads and look for a window opening or even a door in the wall. And of cause, we can also go around the wall. Above all, we don't have to do it alone. We can accept help. We can team up with others or hire people to do things for us that we cannot do ourselves. We can enter into cooperation. We can be coached. And that's what Dan meant when he said, "Do whatever it takes."
We always direct our energy toward one thing or another, to find a solution (success) or to justify our failure (excuses).
Quantum Leap Theorem 18: If you accept a task - then I consider it done.
Explanation: This applies not only to us as bosses, as entrepreneurs, but also to us as family members, as friends, as cooperation partners, and as members of a team. It simply applies always. We have to agree that everyone around us accepts the concept of responsibility. Otherwise, they simply have no place in our environment, unless they are ill, old, or in need of care.
We should only surround ourselves with people we respect. Because if we don't respect someone, then dealing with us will not do them any good. We would make that person smaller. A minimum of respect is necessary. But what is this minimum? Dan described it in his 18th Quantum Leap theorem: That, if someone takes on a task, then we can consider it as done.
Honestly, I don't want to surround myself with other people. Not in my company and not in my free time. Let's say I'm on a trip to Africa with some friends and one of them gets sick. The healthy divide the tasks among themselves: The first one finds a doctor and convinces him to come here. Another one is looking for a hotel for the sick man. The third person informs the relatives and the embassy. A fourth gets medicine for first aid. It's easy to see here: We have to be able to rely on one another. Everyone who takes on a task has to do it. He must. "If I can't, then I have to," Tony Robbins describes this situation.
I believe it is helpful to discuss this Quantum Leap phrase with your team and your community. This is not about exaggerated expectations. This is about the other person knowing: I respect them. And because I respect him, I trust him. And because I trust him, he has no excuses. He can't just come back and say, "I tried my best, but it didn't work out." He must do whatever it takes, as described in Quantum Leap Theorem 17. You see how the sentences intertwine.
Quantum Leap Theorem 19: Our success equals our expectations.
Explanation: This sentence explains the previous one. If we don't expect success, then what do we expect? The answer: Then we leave room for excuses. For failure. Then we are not demanding enough. But if we don't demand enough of others, then indirectly - and probably directly - we do not demand enough of ourselves. Surrounding ourselves with people, with whom we can have high expectations, is a matter of self-esteem.
Are you aware of that? There's no question that we can hire good people. But many entrepreneurs think so. And then I ask these entrepreneurs: “Who have you spoken to in the last six months? Which qualified top performers have you tried to win for your company?” The answer is then usually this: “I didn't contact XY, he would be overqualified for my company.”
What is behind this, is a lack of self-confidence. The entrepreneur then does not consider the highly qualified person to be too strong for his company. No, he thinks this person is too strong for him. With that in mind, we understand Dan's phrase even better: "Our success is equal to our expectations."
Dan also taught me to understand, “Our parents don't want what's best for us. They only ever want a little bit more for us, than what they have achieved themselves.” That's why the sentence also applies the other way around: We mustn't allow ourselves to be restricted by other people's expectations. Our expectations must not be too low. We shouldn't surround ourselves with people, who have low expectations of us. So, they want to slow us down. And we should train ourselves, to have high expectations, for ourselves and others.
Alexander Pope said: "Blessed are those who expect nothing. Because they will never be disappointed." Of cause, such folk wisdom wanted to program us differently. They wanted to convey to us: Be content with what you have. But the truth is, if we want to be who we are, we can't set our expectations high enough. Gratitude is a good concept. I think contentment is dangerous. Those who are satisfied not only stand still but become fewer (see: “The Laws of Winners”, chapter 29).
Quantum Leap Theorem 20: Folk wisdom is the wisdom of convenience.
Explanation: A die-hard Democrat may disagree. He may say that swarm intelligence should not be underestimated. And the people would essentially always be right. Dan doesn't believe in such thoughts at all. He always said: "Look at how the people live. What they learn, what they do, how they work, how they spend their free time, and what friends they have. And then ask yourself: Do you want this? If you don't want what comes out of it, then you shouldn't live like this.”
Popular wisdom is a myth. Myths are intended to make people controllable. And who is supposed to keep his average? Because the average person feels comfortable, as long as nobody lifts their head above the crowd. Almost all folk wisdom is wisdom intended to keep us captive to the average. For example:
- Whoever is born a penny will never make a mark.
- Cobbler, stick to your last.
- The cat catches the early bird.
I'm not saying that all folk wisdom is necessarily wrong. But I suggest looking at them very critically and not simply accepting them. For me, it is not desirable to live like the average. I don't want to have to watch the TV shows that the average person watches. I don't want to leaf through their magazines or vacation on crowded beaches. Does that sound arrogant? No, I am only absolutely aware of my desires and my possibilities. That's called self-confidence. The 21st theorem goes very well with this.
Quantum Leap Theorem 21: What you surround yourself with is you. If you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.
Explanation: An explanation is hardly necessary here. We can say a lot about Dan's wording, but it is certainly clear and concise.
Today's science has proven that this thesis is correct. Google the keyword “mirror neurons”. It has now been empirically proven, that our environment not only influences us but it changes us. We can't resist it. You can find this explained very long-windedly, but also very precisely, in the book "Connected. The power of social networks and why happiness is contagious" by NA Christakis and JH Fowler. You don't necessarily have to read the book unless you have doubts about this thesis, then I strongly recommend it to you.
You remember the crab metaphor in The Laws of Winners: A bucket full of crabs, one wants to climb out, but the others prevent that. They hold back the "upstart." The average person only feels comfortable if he also considers the others to be average. Every successful person in a group of humble people is also an agressor to those who are not successful.
Back to our introductory example from Abraham Lincoln. How could he put up with all these defeats? Of cause, by learning from those, who want to build something beautiful. But also because he stuck to the Quantum Leap sentences mentioned here:
He did whatever was necessary. He surrounded himself with people for whom excuses were unacceptable. He had the highest expectations: Of himself, of those around him, and his country and people.
Read the story about Lincoln and you'll get goosebumps. How can a person, who has failed almost entirely up to the age of sixty, have such dreams? How can he achieve such great things? Lincoln has always defied popular wisdom.
If you look at American electoral law, you will understand how distrustful this formerly freest of all countries is of the will of the masses. Democracy in America doesn't mean that the masses determine what happens. Electors choose the President. It's amazing how closely American suffrage resembles that of the Roman Republic. Democracy can be interpreted very differently. And a lot of that is, thanks to Abraham Lincoln. And finally, Lincoln surrounded himself with people who inspired him and who encouraged him. So he didn't wake up with fleas, but eventually as President of the United States.
Abundance is your birthright.
- Transfer the most important findings of the Quantum Leap sentences into your Quantum Leap journal, or in your knowledge journal.
- Ask yourself critically: To what extent have I already lived according to these laws (success journal)? Where could I change something (knowledge journal)?
- Who do you know, who lives by one or more of these rules? Maybe you're looking for a conversation with this person. You will probably get very deep insights.
- If you are courageous, then discuss one or the other of these sentences with people from your circle of acquaintances. You will probably experience a very interesting discussion and get enlightening insights.
- Write down 5 successes.