Reality Distortion…What a Concept

Photo Credit- Peter Harrison

Perception becomes reality- one way or another: Great principals know that putting others in an upbeat frame of mind comes back to brighten their own day as well. Keeping your school in a positive cycle enhances every thing you do.”    Todd Whitaker

I spent  a restful holiday break engaging in my leisure passions; skiing snowy slopes, eating fine meals with friends and family and staying up late into the night reading. Oh, how I love to read at night! By the cool light of my iPad I scorched through the biography of Steve Jobs recently published by Walter Isaacson well into the wee hours over the last week of December.

I set aside any summarizing and get right to the key connection I made as I reflected upon Jobs’ leadership and my own practice as a school leader – the ‘reality distortion field’. Those who have read the book or are schooled in the business practices of the late Apple CEO know this term to have been attributed to Bud Tribble to describe the aura of bravdo, charm and persistence that Jobs was able to sustain within his teams as they pushed the barriers and boundaries at Apple.

My connection to this term was how similar it sounded to the one of the key points that Todd Whitaker makes in his book What Great Principals Do Differently (another great read). As we launched our first staff meeting yesterday morning on a cold winter morning and after a holiday break, the principal and I were adamant about two things:

1) We were happy to be back in our school with our staff and our students

2) We had every belief that in the 8 weeks leading up to our March break would bring amazing things

Reality distortion? Perhaps. Necessary? Absolutely! The first hour of the day was spent on the important task of welcoming back our students and wishing them a happy new year. In the hallways and classrooms we could hear echoes of the words we ourselves had used in our morning staff meeting…who says reality can’t be distorted?

Not I 🙂


  1. Janice Koslowski said:

    A great translation of the reality distortion concept. So very true that our every sentiment, every action is an opportunity to model what we hope our team will emulate.

    January 11, 2012
  2. Keith Ingram said:

    I do was reading on my ipad Steve Jobs book. It was really pretty neat to be reading on the device that he brought into being his story. Reality distoration… I think so. We did the same thing at our school as we welcomed our students back to school and a New Year. I shared a “pep talk ” with every student and talked about setting goals for the second half of the year.

    Keith Ingram

    January 11, 2012
  3. Brian Harrison said:

    Thanks for taking the time to read and respond~being in a position to help shape a positive climate is one of the things that drew me to this role.


    January 11, 2012

Comments are closed.