Reality Distortion Field

I first came across the concept of the Reality Distortion Field (RDF) while reading the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

The Reality Distortion Field (RDF) was said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs’s ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence. RDF was said to distort an audience’s sense of proportion and scales of difficulties and made them believe that the task at hand was possible… — Wikipedia, Reality Distortion Field

Jobs’ biography and Wikipedia depict both the awe and contempt of being brought into the Reality Distortion Field, but what struck me was the incredible company that was constructed within it. Yes, apple has had a rocky journey. Yes, Steve Jobs had a reputation of being hard to work with. But… I mean… it’s Apple.

As my team and I build Ember, the reality distortion field concept is always humming somewhere in the back of my mind. WE CAN DO THIS — whichever “it” we happen to be discussing.

If I only have external forces, tangible resources, and frustrating obstacles as building materials, then I will never create something newly inspiring. Ember will never offer an experience unavailable elsewhere. If all I have as my blueprint is what everyone else already sees, then I have no reason to build. It has already been done. The problem has already been solved and I am simply franchising someone else’s reality and perspective.

But this isn’t the case.

Ember is the product of a reality distortion field. Each member of our team brings a unique and unseen reality — and together this becomes something that’s never been created and never been done. Ember is unique because no other team has the combined forces of Zack Robets, Stephen Ibach, Emmery Nyanat, Anita Lane, Jordan Solis, and Phil Rice — to name a few. No other organization has the unique combination of personalities and giftings that collectively make up our prayer room and creative endeavors.

Ember is unique. And in it’s otherness it is valuable. Yes, there are prayer rooms. Yes, there are creative companies. But the ingredients that we’ve built into Ember and the perfect combination of people adding them, do not exist elsewhere. People who come to work for us, those who find our prayer room, individuals that happen upon our Ember Perspective podcast are grateful we exist, because of the opportunities or experiences we create that they do not find in other places. My intention is not to sound arrogant, but simply to highlight something. Building from the architecture uniquely imbedded in each of us is immensely important. There is only one Phil Rice. I am the only human that sees the world the way I see it. I should not be ashamed of or hold back from painting this canvas.

When I work with my team, lead my family, interact with those I come into contact with, I distort their reality, I disrupt their perfect internal world, which a moment before was completely devoid of me. I bring my experience, my hope, my faith, my understanding of how the world works and what I think we can achieve. The question becomes, what kind of reality am I imposing? Do I bring with me a reality of hope, faith, and love? Or am I imposing a reality of worry, offense, and fear?

It’s not that we don’t face the brutal facts, as Jim Collins so wisely describes in Good to Great, but rather, we meet those facts with the unique blueprint imbedded within each of us, along with the determination to see that blueprint realized. Even when we have to scrap a method along the way, we always work toward the next method that has the opportunity to take us and our work to the end that we envision.

Here’s to your reality. Cheers.

Phil Rice —
Executive Director of Ember

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