Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Power of a Little Twist

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. - Vincent Van Gogh

Stay faithful in things large and taking on the world, but stay faithful in those things small - because remember it's the small things, the size of a mustard seed, that ultimately moves mountains. - Cory Booker

I was having a little fun this morning when I passed someone three individual strips of paper with the ends of each strip taped together to form three individual loops of paper.

I asked them to pierce the center of the first strip and begin to cut the strip along its length, proceeding around the strip with their scissors until they had reached the starting point.  There was no surprise in the result that was produced – two loops of paper with the same diameter as the original and each half the width of the original (obviously - the paper had been cut in half) fell to the table.

In performing the same exercise with the second loop, I began to speak to them about the power of the mind to influence things and as they completed their cut around the loop, they were surprised that the result this time was a single loop twice the diameter of the original loop.

And finally, passing them the third loop of paper and continuing on about the power of the mind to change things, cutting the paper produced two individual loops, each half the width of the original but this time, the two loops were linked together.

They were stumped by the result but they shouldn’t have been.

The dialog about the power of the mind was all subterfuge intended for dramatic presentation purposes.

What I had done with the second strip before presenting it to them was to introduce a half twist in the strip of paper before taping the ends together, creating what is known as a Möbius strip.

With the third strip of paper, I had introduced a full twist into the strip of paper before taping the ends together.

While it appears they were starting with the same starting point, materials, tools and processes, all it took was a slight twist in preparation to create a different result.

When I look at the team I am working with, having creating some powerful things over the years, they only needed a small twist in their approach, their thinking and their execution to create a much different result than they were heading towards just a short while ago.

The same is true for many of us. 

People looking to reinvent their personal, professional or relationship lives often look for large, impactful changes in order to create large, impactful results.

Oftentimes, however, all they need to understand is the magic that can be created by using a small twist in how they think, approach and execute in order to transform the mundane into the magical.

The Bottom Line

People approach me frequently looking for some grand wisdom or Oracle of Delphi-like insight to move them from their sense of being stuck (or lost) to something much more self-empowering.

Some of those people require a significant overall shift in their thoughts, words and deeds to accomplish that which they aspire towards while others merely need slight shifts in one or more of these areas.

However, regardless of whether the overall change required is large or small, the process always starts the same way ….

…. with a small twist in thought, word and / or deed.

Sometimes a single, small twist is all that some people need.

Others may need a succession of small twists.

But when they get to the end, it appears as if they have created something by magic.

What small twist do you need to make to change your own results or to help someone else change theirs?

What magic are you capable of producing from a small twist?

What are you waiting for?

In service and servanthood,


PS This makes a great teaser for kids.  Try it!  Encourage them to try variants, like cutting the paper closer to one side instead of in the center.  Many kids can’t wait to bring this magic to school to try it on their friends!

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