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.

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