As I noted on my “burning question” post the other day, I recently read a biography of Albert Einstein by Walter Isaacson that fascinated me. I never really got “into” physics in high school – in fact, I hated it. But time and life experience has changed that view, and consequently I was intently curious to find out about what Einstein’s unlocking of the universe was all about, and how he figured it all out.
I’ll write more about Einstein the man in a future post, but today I focus on the physics. And what radical physics it was – it essentially challenged the “common knowledge” that had been accepted for 200 years as to what was “absolute” and what was “relative”.
Here was the bombshell – space and time are relative, and the speed of light was absolute (it was the other way around for those 200 years – since the days of Issac Newton). In other words, time goes slower the faster you go. (note: unfortunately this difference is very, very small unless you are traveling close to the speed of light). And the highest speed is the speed of light- nothing can go faster.
This revelation then led to the most famous equation of all time:
Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
The bigger it is the more energy it produces.
Now what does this have to do with business?
Yesterday I was on the road talking to a group of teammates and we were discussing team building and the importance of supporting each other. I made the point that if we could keep increasing the number people really committed to supporting each other to a critical “mass”, there was no telling what we could achieve as a company.
Then I made the connection – more mass brings more energy. The energy that will fuel our engine of success is dependent on the collective mass of committed individuals.
It’s pure physics! I should have paid closer attention in high school.
Imagine the looks on my teammates faces when I then presented this analogy – I guess there are a lot of other people who didn’t pay much attention to their physics teacher.
And I bet there are not a lot of businessmen using this equation as a motivational tool. But I don’t want to be conventional. There are such interesting and amazing out–of-the-box “connections” out there to be discovered, especially when it comes to the laws of the universe.
Einstein knew this when he said “one cannot help be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality”.
Yep. A marvelous structure. All there for the taking – and borrowing – to make an important point in building a powerful team.