I know the secret to the (in)famous Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field. I’ve even used it myself, though I make no claim to equal his mastery of it. But the point is, it’s available to all of us. And now, in the wake of his passing, the time has come to talk about it.
It is at once both the easiest, and the hardest, stunt to perform. The key is, it’s not a stunt. You can’t fake it, you can’t call it up on demand for any little thing you’re trying to sell.
Passion needs a specific target. You can be an effective salesperson with a passion for selling, but unless you have a passion for what you’re selling, you can’t change reality.
And you can’t simulate passion effectively, not in the amounts a functioning Reality Distortion Field consumes. You might be able to bend it for one person for a brief time, but that’s not distorting reality, that’s simple persuasion.
It’s not an intellectual thing; you can’t use numbers and figures to produce it. They stimulate the wrong side of the brain. That side specializes in reality; in the cold dispassionate analysis of hard facts. It’s true you can bamboozle with figures (Mark Twain once wrote ‘Figures don’t lie, but Liars can figure’) but again, that’s not really distorting reality.
But passion, genuinely felt and genuinely expressed, makes its way into our emotions, into that place where numbers can’t reach — unless you’re a member of that minority whose real passion is for numbers.
Passion is contagious. You’ve felt it, any time you’ve been among passionate people. Expressed clumsily, it can be off-putting. But smooth out the expression of it, purify it, let it drip over your words as they come out, and it becomes a hundred times more contagious than any virus.
You want to distort reality like a pro? The first step is the easiest; find what you’re passionate about. You can’t assign this sort of passion by an act of will; you can’t become really passionate about just anything. You’re not wired that way.
But somewhere, there is something to excite those passions within you. It’s got to be honestly felt. It has to exist. You can’t manufacture it, you can only refine it. Find your passion and trust it, you’ll know it when you see it, and nurse that passion. Smooth it out, refine it until it becomes stronger than any steel.
And while you’re refining it, learn to wield it. This takes practice, like anything else, and you’ll fail. Don’t worry about that. It even happened to Jobs himself, on occasion. Learn from it and continue. Keep at it.
Archimedes once wrote, “Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I can move the world.” Your lever is your passion, refined until it cannot break. The target of this passion is where you stand.
Go ahead, start moving us.