• Thomas A. Wilson

Electromotive Force

Electricity is probably the most important technology in the modern world. Everything, it seems, depends on the generation, distribution, and utilization of the stuff. In 2003, an outage in the Northeast and Midwest United States affected 50 million people. It was the largest blackout in history at the time. The failure contributed to almost 100 fatalities. As of this writing, California is enduring massive power outages. Millions are negatively affected. (Wonder how they’re charging their Teslas?) I was in a store not too long ago when the power went out, and the clerk had no way to complete a sale. Commerce came to a screeching halt. Modern life really does depend on electron flow.

And it is all about flow. The atoms of conductive materials have a nucleus with circling electrons. Think of it like a planet with orbiting moons. Under the right circumstances, the electrons in the atoms of a conductor (like copper) get pushed out of their orbit onto adjacent atoms. Those atoms, in turn, release electrons onto other atoms, and so on. This transfer happens at the speed of light. Under controlled conditions, the travelling electrons accomplish work (as opposed to damage as in a lightning strike). That’s what happens when you charge your cell phone. You’re stocking up on electrons.

The ability to harness the power of electricity is due, in large part, to the work of Georg Simon Ohm. He was the German physicist who discovered the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance. Otherwise known as Ohm’s Law, it states that current intensity (I) equals voltage (V) divided by resistance (R): I = V/R. This little tidbit makes electrical engineering possible.

One way to illustrate the magic of electricity is to describe it like pushing ping pong balls into a garden hose. The balls are electrons, the hose is the conductor. When one ball is pushed into the fully loaded hose, then a ball must pop out the other end of the hose. If a clever person constructed a paddlewheel in the middle of the hose to capture the energy of the moving balls, then work could be accomplished—the motor would turn, the bell would ring, etc. Voltage, then, is how fast the balls are inserted. Resistance is how readily the paddlewheel spins. Current is the number of balls, more or less, involved in the operation.

Now, I’m aware that for many, their eyelids are getting heavy right now—they’re a moment away from clicking out of this blog. DON’T DO IT! There’s method to my science madness. 😊 You see, understanding the workings of something translates into incredible advantage.

Pacific Institute founder Lou Tice taught me a different formula. He said that: I x V = R. That is, imagination times vividness equals reality. He was referring to the power of the mind. Have you every wondered why a lightbulb symbolizes a bright idea? Well, for one thing, our brains operate on electric current. And the mind is the most powerful created thing in the universe.

What one vividly imagines determines one’s worldview. People who think that they are losers invariably are, and pessimistic people inevitably enable their own demise. Never underestimate the power of paradigm. It starts wars, heals diseases, ruins marriages, and saves the perishing. And that’s why I edit my Facebook feed. I cannot allow some people’s junk inside my head. It won’t help me toward my goals.

I use a simple affirmation to stay on track:

I judiciously guard my eyes and mind.

The word judiciously is powerful to me. It generates a vivid image of a righteous judge making wise decisions. I wrote the affirmation, say it often, picture the judge, enjoy the good feelings associated with the image, and then I behave accordingly. That is, I write, say, see, feel, and do what I’ve made my mind up to do. If I don’t live up to my personal standard, I say to myself, “That’s not like me. I’m better than that. The next time I’m going to do such and so.” Lou taught me that bit of self-talk, too. Since I know how the mind works (since I know the formula), I’m using that information to get to higher ground. Lou’s Law makes mental engineering possible.

As long as I live, I’ll never stop climbing, but I will slow down to offer a hand. Care to join me in the ascent? Lou helped me; I’d like to help you. It’s what authentic people do.


How does one develop a detailed mental picture of the unknown? Read, watch, converse, and daydream. Read up on your area of aspiration, explore related online videos, ask someone who’s already there to lunch, close your eyes and picture yourself in the new circumstance. You can do it. Every successful artist, entrepreneur, revolutionary, or lover, at some point, went for it.

Affirmation of the Week: I judiciously guard my eyes and mind in support of my positive personal paradigm.

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