Energy barrier and catalysts

This week I have heard a speech of Mr. Wang. He is a chemist and works with Shell. But he was not talking about petrol or chemical formulas. He was talking about relations and chemistry. He said that in chemistry if you want to reach a new relation between existing reactants you need to cross an energy barrier.

It is long time ago that I had my chemistry classes, but it made me think. Generally what I understood from the story is that an existing situation is bonded together by a strong energy force. If we want to change anything we need to break this bond by using activation energy first. Only when the activation energy is strong enough it can break the bond and a new state can be achieved.

Mr. Wang also said that there are some substances called catalysts that, when added to an environment, can speed up the reaction.

This is all about chemistry for now, let’s think a bit about life instead.

If we want to change anything in our life we need to go from one state to another. Like in chemistry this process needs our effort.

The amount of effort will depend on what we want to achieve on the one side and on our current state on the other site.

Have you ever been in a situation when you are putting an effort to change something and it does not work?

It happens to me regularly so I am sure you know what I am talking about.

At this point the catalyst idea kicks in. It just might be that the effort I am using to go from one state to another is not enough. Maybe I need a catalyst to speed up the process? It works like that in chemistry, could it work in real life as well?

When I think about it I am sure it can. I think that I also know some of the catalysts. The short list would consist of:

  1. Inspiration / Desperation
  2. Motivation
  3. Attitude
  4. Knowledge and skills
  5. Relations and people around us

The inspiration and desperation are basic catalysts. Both work the same way by preparing the environment for a new reaction. Inspiration or desperation are the only things that will make us want to change anything.

Motivation is the energetic catalyst, necessary to ignite our attitude towards the change. Only when our attitude is up and positively running can we do positive activities.

But when the energy barrier is huge we will need some extra catalysts. We will need knowledge and skills to fight the energy barrier. Knowledge and skills will give us the answer to the important question: how?

But what if the required knowledge and skills are out of our reach? Does it mean that the change is impossible for us?

No, we have another 2 catalysts that can help us. Relations and people around us. These 2 are the most powerful catalysts. When well used they can make the impossible happen. You see, what we can’t do, others can. It is just a question of finding the right people and building the right team.

So if you have a big dream, if you have a big goal and you are struggling to reach it, check if you have the right catalysts. If not, go and get them. This can be the only way to get through the energy barrier and achieve a new, desired state.