“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”- Sir Isaac Newton, Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton
Science has long been a matter of great curiosity and intrigue for humans. Ever since the ancients watched the celestial skies and other natural phenomena in wonder, our hunger for science has only increased.
Over the millennia as humans interacted with the physical, chemical and biological world, they made great discoveries. It was tempting for people to separate those phenomena as happening out there, discrete from themselves.
But humans also implicitly understood that they belonged to the same planet and under the umbrella of the same laws and principles.
What can those timeless laws and theories of science that have stood the tests of history reveal to us?
This is part-1 of the 2-part series on science principles and success.
Let us see how we can apply the laws of science for greater success in our life:
1. Newton’s Law Of Universal Gravity
The famous story that everyone has heard of is that Newton, the young scientist was sitting under an apple tree. Deep in contemplation, his reverie broke when he got hit on the head with an apple. In a flash of brilliant insight, Newton went “oh” or “yes” or some form thereof and discovered the law of gravity.
The real story is not too far from the truth. William Stukeley wrote the first biography of Newton called Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life. Newton told the story of the apple to Stukeley who wrote in the biography:
“After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank thea, under the shade of some apple trees…he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself…”
The Law of Universal Gravitation states that any two objects in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their individual masses.
They also attract each other with a force inversely proportional to the square of distance between them. Read more here.
What this means is that the larger the mass of the bodies, the more the force of attraction. The further apart they are from each other, the weaker the force between them.
How does this translate to our life and success?
You are attracted with a strong force and power to your largest goals and highest purpose.
The smaller and less ambitious your goals and purpose, the less enthusiasm and power you feel towards them. Tie your goals to a big picture or a dharma that most appeals to you, and you feel a strong attraction to it. When you do this, You feel enthusiastic, passionate and you come alive.
When you are far away from your goals or your big picture, you feel less attracted to them because of the distance. The closer your big picture is to your imagination and your real life, the stronger the pull towards it.
Make your dharma, purpose and big picture large enough and adventurous enough to feel a great power of attraction to them.
Keep the evidence of work towards your great goals close to your imagination and close to your actions.
2. Einstein’s Theory Of Special Relativity
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”― Albert Einstein
Einstein’s theory of relativity states that the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe. If you are on planet earth, you will observe the same laws of light and gravity as an object somewhere far away in space. Einstein introduced the idea of time and space continuum and that everything is relative.
According to an article in live science:
“The universality of physics means that history is provincial. Different viewers will see the timing and spacing of events differently. What for us is a million years may just be a blink of an eye for someone flying in a high speed￼ rocket or falling into a black hole.”
Einstein discovered special relativity by experiments that showed that the speed of light was constant when the earth orbited around the sun.
When applied to your success, this law translates to the idea that the laws of success are universal. This is true because with the correct systems and structures, anyone can become successful. Read that again!
This law also says that success, time and space are relative to the observer. Success is relative based on the beliefs and conditioning that you hold or the society that you are working in.
Some people believe that you need 10k hours to achieve mastery. This idea became popular by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. Others believe that it can be much shorter.
Success depends on the yardsticks and the frames of reference used to measure it.
Achieving success is universal like the speed of light. Anyone can achieve success if they work at it. However, the time and space and the measure of success is relative to your unique vantage point.
Time expands or shrinks based on what we are doing. Objects or projects feel heavier or burdensome or lighter based on your relative position on them. A successful attitude takes into account this changing time-space continuum and its relative nature.
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Newton’s Laws Of Motion
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”― Isaac Newton
Newton’s laws of motion describe the relationship between an object and the different forces that act upon it. They also describe whether the object stays in rest or gets displaced or moves under the influence of the forces that act on it.
The three laws of motion were first compiled by Isaac Newton in his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
The first law is also the law of inertia. It states that every body maintains and continues its state of rest or of uniform motion until it is acted by an external force.
The second law states that force is in direct proportion to the mass of an object and its acceleration. The greater the mass of an object, the more force you need to increase its acceleration.
The third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
When applied, newton’s laws state that we are resistant to change when we are at rest or moving at a constant pace. We love to keep on doing or moving as we currently are and resist change.
Do you want to increase the speed of your motion or stop doing what you do not want to do? You need a force that acts to overcome this inertia.
Where can we find such forces that allow us to gather speed on paths that are suitable for success or slow us down on paths that we do not wish to be on?
- Find great mentors.
- Set up accountability partners.
- Create and participate in mastermind groups.
- Engage in personal power developing practices.
Also, become aware of the forces and the situations that are causing you to slow down or have inertia.
These could be:
- Jealous coworkers
- Well meaning family and friends.
- Unsuitable work environment.
- Excess stress and tension.
- Lack of organization.
- Unclear or fuzzy steps forward.
The laws also state that mountains or big projects need greater force to move and need higher acceleration. The larger the project, the more the force and directed attention that you will have to impose upon it for success.
You may need to become aware of the “heaviness” of a project or a goal by:
- Breaking it up into small parts.
- Assessing how much time and effort you will have to give to each part.
- The understanding that huge projects are more difficult to act upon as a whole.
The third law answers itself and acts as a reminder of constant success.
Understand that every action that you take has an equal and opposite reaction. Now the reaction can allow you to move forward in your goals or take you a step backwards.
At the launch of a space rocket, the action of the powerful engines pushes the ground. This causes a huge reaction to launch the rocket into geostationary orbit or perhaps move it towards another planet.
In the same way, when you make a huge effort in the right direction, you will reap the benefits of your actions. You need to be continually assessing if you are moving in the right direction or not.
4. The Principles Of Enzymes, Substrates and Catalysts
Enzymes are biological catalysts that increase the speed of a reaction. They also decrease the activation energy or the energy required for the reaction to proceed in the right direction.
The size of a cell is tiny at 15 to 25 microns. Most cells would not be able to provide the energy required for all the complex chemical reactions by themselves. Cells require chemical reaction assistance in the form of enzymes.
Enzymes provide this facilitation and enhancement. Enzymes alter the conformation of their active site to allow substrate or the reactants to fit together like a lock and key mechanism.
After they reduce the activation energy, enzymes help alter reactants into products. Thereafter, enzymes release products from the active site and return back to their original form.
This means that sometimes to be successful, we need the assistance of enzymes or catalysts.
These catalysts understand what the problem is and allow us to move forward. These life catalysts lower the resistance and energy required for projects and forward motion.
What are some example of catalysts in life?
- A collaborative and encouraging environment.
- Forming connections with other like-minded individuals.
- Having a great support system.
- Having a work space that fits individual ideas and ideals like a lock and key.
- Having optimal nutrition and exercise habits that work.
- Habits that enhance energy and lower the resistance or exhaustion.
- Having encouragers and bright side thinkers.
- Feedback and honest reviewers and reviews of work and success.
What catalysts do you have in your life to propel your success forward?
5. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
“The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.”–Heisenberg, Uncertainty paper, 1927
This one comes straight to us from Quantum Mechanics. This principle was discovered by Werner Heisenberg in 1927 at Niels Bohr’s institute in Copenhagen. Heisenberg received the nobel prize in Physics in 1932 for being one of the pioneers of the field of Quantum Mechanics.
In a PBS article, the story of Heisenberg’s discovery is described.
Heisenberg was alone while Bohr was on a skiing holiday. He had the opportunity during this time to think about the nature of matter. It shocked him to have a clear realization that subatomic particles could change while someone observed them.
While measuring the tiny subatomic electrons, scientists used a measuring device in the form of light or radiation.
Electrons were so small and light that even the tiniest light energy altered their position and momentum.
Short but high energy wavelength light measured position well but threw off the momentum. Using low energy and longer wavelength light, the momentum would be more accurate but the position would be off.
The principle states that we cannot measure the position and the momentum of a particle with a high degree of precision. Since electrons around atoms are clouds of charge of tiny mass, their position and momentum is uncertain.
How is this principle applicable to our life and success?
You may want to control all the events of your plans and actions for a desired outcome. Even with great effort, there will still be uncertainty that you need to account for.
The best-laid plans are sometimes not the best option available. This is because the landscape of results changes constantly. Changes and results are full of uncertainty and you need to prepare yourself for that.
How do you prepare for uncertainty?
- Become all right with uncertainty.
- Train yourself to be comfortable with the discomfort of not knowing everything and taking small risks.
- Have alternate plans, paths and ideas if your original idea does not work out.
- Trying to keep everything balanced and firing on all cylinders may just not be possible and a setup for failure.
- Build in some uncertainty into your short term and long term planning.
Like the uncertainty principle but not the same is the observer effect in science. While uncertainty is inherent in systems, this is an imposed effect. The idea that observer biases can alter the state of an experiment and cause different results is the observer effect.
Different observers view results and progress in a different way. If you take feedback from one observer, it may not be favorable. Robust feedback includes several observers and taking the option that best suits you.
6. Evolution And Natural Selection
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” -Charles Darwin
Theory of Evolution states that species change gradually over time. This change happens under the influence of the environment and selection pressures. The species best adapted to their environment are the ones likely to do better.
In 1831, a young Charles Darwin took up the position of a naturalist aboard the ship the HMS Beagle. He had a great interest in science, biology and geology and was a dedicated student of the natural world and a collector of insects.
Darwin arrived at the Galapagos Islands as part of his voyage. The richness of the local floor and fauna captured his attention. The islands located 965 kms off the coast of South America were too far for mainland species to colonize.
Darwin observed that even with the remoteness, life was abundant in the islands. Different islands also differed in life based on the location and the physical environment there.
How can we use the theory of Evolution to enhance life success?
One of the things inherent in life is change.
Everything is changing and in constant flux. Our minds and consciousness are also changing over time. If you can use this change as a vehicle for transformation, life becomes an exciting adventure.
One of the concepts that I love is the Japanese idea of Kaizen or constant and continuous change and improvement.
Now, we all know that success is not a straight line forward. It looks more like a curved and crooked circular path where we are going one step forward and sometimes one step backwards.
Hold an intention of forward and positive evolution of life and success.
Nature uses the principle of the survival of the fittest. The most vigorous and well-adapted species have a better chance in their survival.
The giraffes with the longer necks had a better chance of survival when compared to the ones with short necks when food ran out.
We can use this principle for greater success in our life. The idea is that the most fit and well adapted ideas and projects have the greatest survival chance.
Apply the idea of continuous improvement while adapting to a work place that is ever changing. This adaptation is a wonderful success strategy.
How can we adapt?
- Keep up with the trends in technology, social media and new ideas.
- Collaborate and improvise in an effective way.
- Be a life long learner and implementer of new ideas.
- Create ideas and processes that are adaptable and have a higher rate of success.
- Use small and quick improvements to make your products and projects better and better.
- The quickest, most efficient and the most value providing service will have a higher rate of survival.
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” -Émile Coué
This is the end of part-1. Please stay tuned for part-2.
Now over to you!
Let me know in the comments below if this post resonated with you.