How Steve Jobs Made the Impossible Possible

Jamie Astromalo
Sep 13, 2017 · 3 min read

Using high caliber communication skills to manipulate reality

Steve Jobs manipulated reality and made the ‘impossible’ possible.

Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs often refers to the Apple founder’s reality distortion field (RDF). Co-workers would often talk about Steve’s ability to distort reality to get his way, especially after being told something could not be done.

Just a slight disclaimer, there’s a fine line between distorting reality and lying. The side you fall on depends on the perception of the person whose reality you’ve just distorted. Put yourself in the shoes of an Apple employee. Would you know the difference between the RDF or a lie?

The example I’m about to provide is one of more glorious uses of the RDF.

Bud Tribble and Steve Jobs were members of the Macintosh project team. Bud was watching Steve test out a Macintosh prototype. Steve powered on the computer and immediately after it booted, he said the boot time was too long and 10 seconds had to be shaved off.

Bud immediately pushed back and said that the team did everything possible and Steve’s request is absolutely not feasible.

Steve challenged Bud by asking, “if I could save a life, would you consider working on the boot time?”

Bud agreed to hear him out. Steve took out a pen and paper and explained to Bud that there will be hundreds of thousands of Macs sold and if each person booted their computer twice a day over the course of a year, then all the time saved during the booting process would add up to more than a single lifetime.

About a month later, Bud met with Steve to tell him that 20 seconds had been shaved off the booting time!

Steve’s used the art of storytelling to make Bud question his known reality.

What is reality?

This is the type of question you might expect to hear in a pot smoking circle of hippies when the weed hits too strong.

I’m no expert in psychology or philosophy but I did speak with a respected psychologist recently and the question, ‘What is reality?’ happened to come up.

The expert’s answer was that your reality is created by your perception and perceptions are interpretation from experiences and encounters.

Furthermore, you experience life with the 5 senses so your reality essentially stems from the way you interpret scent, sound, sight, taste and touch. Everyone experiences the senses differently, therefore every perceived reality is unique and malleable.

Reality becomes malleable when you can influence someone else’s perceptions. To truly comprehend someone’s perception you have to be really good at using your senses for observation. And in order to change a perception you have to offer an experience powerful enough to trigger doubt in the senses. This doubt can alter the way a reality is perceived.

The art of storytelling is a great means to delivering doubt creating sensory experiences.

Experiencing the Power of Great Communication Skills

Steve displayed outstanding communication skills. Although he was well renowned for entrepreneurial vision, communication is how he converted visions to reality.

Using his great storytelling skills and his unbreakable soul-piercing eye-contact, Steve was able to deliver a metaphor that made the seemingly impossible possible. Bud’s perceptions were challenged by a brilliant analogy. Steve brought him face to face with limitations of his own perception and because of this, Macintosh owners got to enjoy faster boot times.

This my friends, was the power of RDF at its finest.

Tell a good story and perceive a new reality

You’ve all heard of the saying ‘if there’s a will there’s a way.’ When making the impossible happen this saying stands true.

In order for get your way 3 events must occur:

• There has to be a will stronger than the resistance.

• An understand of another person’s reality is gained through a better understand of their perceptions.

• A moment of influence that offers the senses an experience worthy of doubt.

The way to impose your will really depends on your strengths and which senses your skills appeal to. Use skills you are comfortable with to create an experience that will challenge someone’s perceptions. In this regard, be like Steve!

I try to be like Steve and use powerful stories to make others think or see things differently. Making someone think differently is making them experience senses with a newly gained perspective.

Make it happen! Tell a great story, put on a moving performance or go in for a perfectly timed show of affection that can distort reality and change perceptions. Cause doubt and make the seemingly impossible possible.

Jamie Astromalo

Written by

Storyteller | Font Geek | Nature Lover | Plant-based | Sustainist— Grounded earthling with an imagination that ventures to and through time, space and emotion

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