Life Lessons From A Gyrsoscope

What can we learn from a gyroscope that has life-level applicability?

A gyroscope.

What can we learn from a gyroscope that has life-level applicability? Maybe you had one as a childhood toy or maybe you still do…like me. In fact, I literally keep a gyroscope on the desk in my home office as a powerful reminder of what we’re about to briefly explore. Before diving in much further, it may be worth taking a moment to revisit what a gyroscope is and how they are essential components in some of the most sophisticated navigation inventions of humankind.

The attached image helps, but the gist is that once the inner flywheel is spun and rotates at a targeted speed, the gyroscope becomes remarkably stable, and incredibly predictable making them invaluable in navigation systems. In fact, gyroscopes have been and are still used in ships, airplanes, space craft, and even the James Webb Space Telescope. But, before we get too sciencey, just think about a bicycle or motorcycle. The primary reason either vehicle remains upright when you are riding them is because the wheels act like a gyroscope… providing incredible balance and stability as you navigate turns and bumps (or BMX jumps like I love to do on the weekends!). If you stop moving, what happens? Well, it’s band-aid time.

Falling down and skinning our knees is part of growing up as a kid, a teen, and adult, a relationship partner, a member of society, an employee, and a business leader or owner. It is inevitable to stumble and fall. But, we can minimize the chances and even the severity of adverse results with work. More importantly, we can minimize the chance of falling…maybe better positioned as improving our chances for success…by taking a little closer look at what’s going on with the gyroscope and getting a bit philosophical about why it is such an incredible device and how we can think about our own lives and even the culture we wish to find as employees and build as a business.

A quick, but necessary, disclosure. All of these concepts are more deeply explored within my new book titled “The Inertia of Legacy” where we’ll learn from a quick refresh of Newton’s Laws and deploy them in practical ways to define, manage, and leave our best personal and professional legacy using a framework I named “The Inertia of Legacy Matrix”. The inspiration for this particular article actually came from a conversation I had with a recent acquaintance about our shared deep passion for culture. In that conversation, this person mentioned one of the things they loved about reading my book is how the ideas of knowing who you want to be as a person/business and being very intentional (inertia) about your legacy aligns with what it takes to achieve your desired corporate culture. That led to us chatting about why a gyroscope is on the cover of the book, the focus of the last chapter, the logo/name of a small company I have, and my new tattoo (if you have already read the book, this will make sense. Ha!)

So, yeah, the gyroscope. They are purpose built and incredibly effective at accomplishing their purpose when energy is focused on creating motion in very intentional ways. When a specific force is applied that spins the inner flywheel at the requisite speed, the gyroscope becomes almost magically stable and resistant to external forces. In fact, you can almost feel a spinning gyroscope pushing back on your finger if you try to push it off its rotational axis. Conversely, a motionless gyroscope is incredibly unstable and awkward. One could argue they are essentially useless beyond being a conversation piece or a paper weight… and even that is a longshot as they roll around and are highly susceptible to falling off the table with even the slightest bump.

As we consider how this analogy for our own lives, our legacy, and anything we care deeply about, I submit that the gyroscope is incredibly applicable and powerful. Like the gyroscope, we each have our reason for being, our own passions, our own dreams… our “why” as Simon Sinek refers to it. And much like the gyroscope, if we are not intentionally working and moving in ways that align with our “why”, our chance of success is significantly jeopardized as we will become unstable and susceptible to misaligned behaviors and any number of external forces.

However, when you have spent time deeply understanding you or your business’s “why”, identified what needs to be done to bring it to fruition, and are willing to stay intentional and diligent about the actions needed maintain it, your chances of success are significantly enhances. This effort and focus creates great stability, much like a gyroscope when spinning and functioning as it was intended. Defining your “why”. Being intentional about making it real. Being willing to put in the work. Remaining diligent about it over the long haul. All of these are critical for success whether you are working on a hobby, developing a professional skill, being a viable relationship partner, or running a business with an amazing culture that people want to work for and with.

While all of this sounds amazing, maybe even simple, it’s worth being realistic. This is hard. At times, it’s really hard. Just like the gyroscope, even the most sophisticated and well planned do run the risk of slowing down, experiencing outside influences, and becoming less effective. We are no different. But we are. We are human beings. We can see and sense things. We have power over our actions, our effort, our intentions. We also have a choice of ignoring or delaying our response to adversity. We have the options to catch ourselves if we start to wobble off course, feel unstable, or lose focus on our why. Each and everyone of us has the ability to define and manage our “why”. If you feel yourself starting to wobble, fall off course, or stumble, reach for your gyroscope, wind it up, give it a hearty spin, and be reminded…motivated…by how refocusing an intentional movement can establish stability in your personal and professional lives.

If you’d like to take deep dive in to your “why”, the legacy that you or your business are building, managing, and leaving, and would find value in some practical tools to help you accomplish these things, I’d be honored if you considered reading my book. It’s available in all formats on Amazon, Kindle, Audible, and Apple Books.

Subscribe to Culture is King

Other posts