A Different Kind of Quantum Leap: Letting Go of Ambition

Tao Te Ching Detail
Tao Te Ching Detail (Photo credit: lyzadanger)

Wise people are not absorbed

in their own needs.

They take the needs of all people as their own.

They are good to the good.

But they are also good to those

who are still absorbed in their own needs.


Because goodness is in the very nature

of the Great Integrity.

Wise people trust

those who trust.

But they also trust those who do not trust.


Because trusting is the very nature

of the Great Integrity.

Wise people merge with all other

rather than stand apart judgmentally.

In this way, all begin to open their ears and hearts,

more prepared to return to the innocence of childhood.

Verse 49, Tao Te Ching

Translated by Ralph Alan Dale

The Wisdom of SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants (character)
SpongeBob SquarePants (character) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s funny how life gives us mirrors and stories when we need them.

I was trying to think about how to convey the message of today’s blog in a refreshing way:

Surround Yourself with People Who Respect You for the Right Reason

Most of us, know that the company we keep in life, work and relationships makes a difference in how successful we can be in attaining our goals.

As I was writing this, my sons were watching an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Mr. Crabs’ daughter, Pearl, comes to work.  Pearl sets about changing everything at the Crusty Crab in incredibly goofy ways that are costing stingy Mr. Crabs more and more money.

Finally, things are so bad, Mr. Crabs tells SpongeBob that he has to fire Pearl.  Just as SpongeBob is about to fire her, she starts crying, and says I can’t take it anymore, because nothing is working. SpongeBob tries to console her for doing her best.  She’s no, I’ve been doing my best to get fired from this job and it’s not working!

Most of us know when we are in a situation that is not the best one for us or the other people involved in the situation.  It’s worst when we think that by standing up for ourselves, we are going to have to hurt someone we love.

As SpongeBob SquarePants showed today, if there is one area, where we should be wary of flowing with everything around us, it’s in the area of our closest relationships and who we choose to do our life’s work with.

If there is an area in your life that isn’t moving in the direction you would like, take a look at your relationships in that area.  Are you trying to please someone in a way that doesn’t help anyone?

There may be some area in your life where you have to let yourself be fired or fire someone else who is not working with you for the right reason.

Asking for Help and Ray Bradbury

Photo of Ray Bradbury.
Photo of Ray Bradbury. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the second post in a series on creating quantum leaps.  I can’t help combining worldly news with these posts.   Sadly, today, we heard of Ray Bradbury’s passing.

My original goal for today’s post was to write about how important it is to pray and ask for help.

With Ray Bradbury’s death, may he rest in peace, I decided to get some help today myself and flipped open to one of my favorite books on writing: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

With what I believe was divine guidance, this is what I opened to:

So again, the three signs.  Put them together any way you wish.  WORK RELAXATION DON’T THINK Once separated out.  Now, all three together in a process.  For if one works, one finally relaxes and stops thinking.  True creation occurs then and only then.

But work, without right thinking, is almost useless.  I repeat myself, but, the writer who wants to tap the larger truth in himself must reject the temptations of Joyce or Camus or Tennessee Williams, as exhibited in literary reviews.  He must forget the money waiting for him in mass circulation.  He must ask himself, “What do I really think of this world, what do I love, fear, hate?” and begin to pour this on paper.

Then, through the emotions, working steadily, over a long period of time, his writing will clarify; he will relax because he thinks right and he will think even righter because he relaxes.  The two will become interchangeable. At last he will begin to see himself.  At night, the very phosphorescence of his insides will throw shadows on the wall.  At last the surge, the agreeable blending of work, not thinking and relaxation will be like the blood in one’s body, flowing, because it has to flow, moving because it has to move.

What are we trying to uncover in this flow? The one person irreplaceable to the world, of which there is no duplicate. You. As there was only one Shakespeare, Moliere, Dr. Johnson, so you are that precious commodity, the individual man, the man we all democratically proclaim, but who, so often, gets lost, or loses himself in the shuffle.

How does one get lost?

Through incorrect aims, as I have said.  Through wanting literary fame too quickly.  From wanting money too quickly.  If only we would remember,  fame and money are gifts given only after we have gifted the world with our best, our lonely, our individual truths.  Now we must build a better mousetrap, heedless if a path is beaten to our door.

This may seem like the wrong kind of advice for producing quantum leaps in writing.  In our society, we generally equate quantum leaps with fame and money. If you’re deeply honest are any of your truest dreams about money and fame? Don’t they usually involve living and expressing your personal truth?

Perhaps, this is the perfect summer to take Ray’s advice for following any of your truest dreams:

  • WORK

Might you produce a quantum leap in your life if you applied this approach in your life?

Thanks Ray for your help today!

Training for Quantum Leaps

Prayer flags on Renjo La
Prayer flags on Renjo La (Photo credit: Oliphant)

Let’s face it  .  .  . most transformational coaches are paid to help their clients to create quantum leaps and usually big ones.

If you’re experiencing trouble or discomfort in some area of your life, and you finally admit that you might need some help,  you want to make change quickly, as in quantum leap change.

The problem is that coaches who are honest cannot promise anyone a quantum leap.

So most of the time coaches preach the idea of taking massive action.   This type of transformation usually creates results.  Many of the biggest, quickest changes I’ve experienced myself and seen in others happened because of massive action.  Unfortunately, these types of transformation don’t always endure.

Sometimes massive action creates world changing quantum leaps, as in the example of an Edison with his thousands of failed experiments before the light bulb was developed.  In the U.S., we tend to associate this type of transformation with the American way –work hard and produce extraordinary results.  With big challenges facing America, you see many pundits talking about one type of massive action or another.

Zen Habits and other blogs talk about a more palatable version of massive change through making a lot of small changes that grow over time into a bigger change.  This is a slower version of taking massive action that often works better for most of us.

There is another kind of quantum leap that is discussed rather often too.  I call it the “truest dream” quantum leap.  It’s a different kind of quantum leap.

dramatic dream
dramatic dream (Photo credit: unNickrMe)

Here are the elements of truest dream quantum leaps:

  • A worthy dream
  • Praying or deeply longing for help
  • Being in the right place at the right time
  • Finding and working with people that respect your ideas
  • Giving up on being the driver of the change you want to experience
  • Letting go of ambition
  • Following your intuition
  • Using all of your disparate experiences in unusual ways

The challenge with this type of quantum leap, if you notice, is that you’re not in control.

Personally, I’ve noticed that the most important quantum leaps in my life often began after some type of prayer occurred; a prayer that happened because effort wasn’t enough.  Then, a shift occurred that was followed by massive action that felt easy and steady.  When, we are stuck, not feeling able to take action, it’s because we need to get aligned with our truest dreams.

Julia Cameron wrote about this phenomenon in the The Artist’s Way:

Is it any wonder we discount answered prayers?  We call it coincidence.  We call it luck.  We call it anything but what it is — the hand of God, or good, activated by our own hand when we act in behalf of our truest dreams, when we commit to our soul.

There are two key words — truest dreams.

Most of us at some time in our life, we find that we are not acting on behalf of our truest or most worthy dreams.  We are acting on someone else’s true dream.

I believe the biggest challenge we face as humanity is to find a unifying true dream that we can all embrace.  If enough people truly shared a dream of global prosperity, it could happen.

Most likely you have experience in each of these different types of quantum leaps:

  1. Massive Action
  2. Changing Habits One at a Time – slow motion version of massive action
  3. Surrendering to Your Truest Dream

Note:  All these types of quantum leaps happen to be useful ideas for having your writing published or recognized!

Which type of quantum leap do you truly need in your life now?  Are there other ways you have made quantum leaps in your life?

This week I’ll be writing about the last type of quantum leap – surrendering to your truest dream(s).

Quantum Leap . . . what does this mean for you?

Two bottlenosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) ...
Two bottlenosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) leap out of the water at Roatan Island in Honduras. 2000 Roatan, Honduras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you define a quantum leap? And would you like to make one?When I typed in Quantum Leap on google, the first thing I found was a Wikipedia review of the old television show with Scott Bakula.  Still love that show, but that wasn’t what I was looking for.  I was surprised to find many different definitions of quantum leap.

The one that appeared the most accurate from my college days in quantum physics was the definition of quantum leap from 1996 by Jim Loy.

Here’s an excerpt from his definition:

Some people think that a quantum leap is a particularly large leap. This is incorrect. In fact, in quantum physics, where the expression came from, a quantum leap is usually a very tiny leap indeed, often smaller than the diameter of the nucleus of an atom.

So what is a quantum leap? A quantum leap is a leap from A to B, without passing through any of the points between A and B. Imagine that you enter a train in A-ville. You sit in your seat, and the train is instantly transported to your destination of B-ville. You just made a quantum leap. The train didn’t pass through any point between A-ville and B-ville.

Besides leaping across a distance, sub-atomic particles can change by leaps in other ways. An electron can change energy from energy-level A to energy-level B in a leap, without having any of the intermediate values of energy. In fact, this is where the term “quantum” comes from. At the sub-atomic level, energy is created and used up in well-defined amounts called “quanta.” “Quanta” is plural, “quantum” is singular.

If you read Loy’s full excerpt, you will read him saying that quantum leaps do not occur in the ordinary world.  Perhaps that is true from a physics point of view.

However, from a metaphorical standpoint, we see examples of quantum leaps everywhere.

Yesterday, I talked about the quantum leaps in travel that are present for us.  None of us, had to live through the whole period of time from the development of the wheel to the era of automobiles and airplanes.

Just as my children, can’t believe there weren’t smart phones or the Internet when I was a kid, we can’t imagine a world without modern medicine, stores full of goods from all around the world, and great freedom to choose how we live.

Mixing physics metaphors, quantum leaps are relative for each of us.  A quantum leap for you may mean nothing to me, or vice versa.

Have you ever experienced moving to a new energy level or state of being in the world without going through the normal steps to get there?

Here are some examples of quantum leaps that might appear or have appeared in different areas of your life:


  • You are assigned to a  project that moves you into a whole new area of work that you had secretly wished you could do, and it’s been given to you without additional effort on your part
  • Your boss has been very difficult with you.  You start imagining your boss as someone who is easy to work with.  You find that many of the troubles that you had been experiencing disappear.
  • You discover a tool that makes your work ten times easier so that you can spend time doing the things your want to do


  • Going about your regular life and suddenly meeting your life mate and knowing that your life would never be the same again
  • Taking home a puppy, kitten or other pet and feeling your life expand
  • Meeting a new friend who you know instantly will be a life long friend


  • You are dreaming of taking a dream vacation and suddenly you receive an inheritance with just enough money to make that dream come true
  • You decide to stop trying so hard to find an agent for your book, knowing you will find one, so you start writing your next book, and you meet the perfect agent at a party
  • You decide to let go of some bad clients as a commitment to yourself, and perfect new clients appear seemingly out of nowhere.


  • You’ve been very sick for a long time.  You give up worrying about your illness and decide to enjoy your life anyway.  You go to the doctor for your next visit and your health concern has disappeared.
  • You’ve been struggling with living healthy for a while.  You leave a job that you hate.  You suddenly find it much easier to take care of yourself.

Some of these examples aren’t pure quantum leaps, but they can feel like them, because change that we want feels effortless.

There are many places in our lives where slow and steady is a wise way to live, but part of the joy of life is in having sudden changes for the better.  I believe that there are ways to create the right kind of space for quantum leaps.

If you have experienced quantum leaps, have you noticed how they came to be?

I’ve noticed some typical conditions that set the stage for the quantum leaps in my life and others that I’ll share tomorrow.

Related articles

Quantum Leaps and Summer Vacation

English: The Quantum Leap
English: The Quantum Leap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I work on the plans for our family summer vacation today, I started to think about the opportunity we have to make quantum leaps.

I have tended to like summer and winter because they are times when certain expectations slow down.   I don’t usually associate these times with quantum leaps.  Instead,  I’ve tended to see these seasons as ones when big changes aren’t really possible.

Yet, I have to remind myself that remarkable discoveries, breakthroughs and accomplishments can happen at any time. If you could make a quantum leap in any of your life or your whole life in the next three months, what would it be?

I’m taking my family on a road trip this summer.  In the course of a few weeks we’ll be driving across a couple thousand miles of roads across America.

English: Redwood Sequoia sempervirens forest i...
English: Redwood Sequoia sempervirens forest in California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few years ago, we drove 5000 miles in 9 days.  There was work involved in that trip, but compared to what it would have taken a hundred years ago to make the same trip, it was simple.  The ability to make a cross country trip is a quantum leap that we don’t think about much.

I’m just an average American, with perhaps an above average love of road trips.  For me, making road trips is easy, fun, and part of a long-term goal for my kids.

For some people, taking a vacation every year is a frivolous, waste of money.  I sometimes wonder if people who can’t see the value of travel also have trouble making quantum leaps.

There’s something about going on adventures to places you’ve never been that deepens your ability to believe that things can change drastically in an instant.   You see different ways of living are possible when you travel Within a few hours, sometimes even a few minutes, you can be seeing an entirely different type of landscape and culture.

Quantum leaps aren’t limited to travel.  They are all around us.  And some of them are making us nervous, because quantum leaps in outsourcing, technology, etc are changing the way of life in America.  We don’t tend to notice how available quantum leaps are to us.  If we don’t take advantage of the tools that humankind has created, we won’t make the journeys or quantum leaps that we could.

What would you really love to do in the next 90 days that you’ve never done before? With some imagination, determination, and focused play, you just might surprise yourself at the places you could see or the person you could become.

For today, just imagine what it would feel like to make a quantum leap in the next 90 days!

Perhaps over the next few days, together we can brainstorm some ways to radically change our lives, which aren’t necessarily magical, but leave us feeling that life is bigger and more wondrous than we imagined!