Using the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to Make a Difference

“The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle says, in essence, that under certain circumstances the very process of measurement can affect the outcome of a measurement in unpredictable ways.”

_Steven B. Sample, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership

Let’s go a little highbrow today and talk about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Did I hear you ask, “What in the world is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle”?

Dr. Samples, God bless ’em, tried to give an easy to understand definition (see above) but let a boy who grew up on a “Mill Village” take a whack at it.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle means that just the act of drawing a line in the sand between two people can change things.

Or how about this? Just the framing of a question about something can change the entire trajectory of someone’s life.

I can give you two major milestone examples from my own life…

The first was way back when I was dating Sonja. My mom made an hours-long trip to meet me for lunch all to ask if I was “getting serious” about Sonja. Honestly I had not given it a lot of thought…until the question was asked. By nightfall I had asked Sonja to marry me, she said yes, and 44 years later mom’s question is still paying dividends.

Another example was a lunch I had with Dr. Jim Stephens, who at that time was Assistant General Overseer of the denomination I serve in.

During our lunch Dr. Stephens casually asked if I’d ever considered being an Administrative Bishop. My immediate response was that I was happy being a pastor but… it got me thinking and long story short, here I am serving as an Administrative Bishop.

Wow! You never know. A simple question, bringing a subject up, drawing a line in the sand, causing someone to think…you never know what the outcome could be.

This I do know, if you don’t bring the subject up, nothing will probably change. (That’s called “the stuck in the mud” principle.)

The ONE THING for today: Instead of trying to help people by telling them what you think, try helping them by asking them to think.

Photo by Daniel Seßler on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Using the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to Make a Difference

  1. I like it! Non threatening and allows the person to personally consider the possibilities! I’ll try to remember this the next time I encounter someone I believe has a particular purpose upon their life. Thanks!


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