Wisdom//

Dan Gilbert: What Is Life’s Default Setting?

“When was the last time that you zeroed in on a situation and everything was running incredibly smooth and working like a charm?”


Just like the laws of physics, there are laws of the universe that apply to the natural state of ‘things’ when no recent thought, energy, or attention has been invested into a situation. In other words, when something (anything) comes into your focus, either for the first time or for the first time in a long time, what is the chance the “thing” is in outstanding, good, or even average shape?

Almost never.

In fact, let’s be honest: The vast majority of the time, “Shit IS the default setting.”


When was the last time that you zeroed in on a situation and everything was running incredibly smooth and working like a charm?

Why is that so rare?

Some of it is rational. The fact that you have not paid any attention to something in a long time, or ever, invariably means that it did not have your passion, urgency, deep attention and motivation. Because you are reading this blog, I’m fairly certain that just your involvement alone will improve the “thing.” Your passion and drive for greatness in all that you do is going to act as a formidable force that will counter the natural state of chaos. The nearly infinite possibilities in any given situation of random outcomes outnumber the handful of outcomes that you would interpret as order or progress. There are so many more ways for things to be f’ed up than not f’ed up.

This rule of the universe also applies to that dreaded, most fearful of all states of being: the “status quo.” One of the biggest deceptions in the world is self-inflicted by so-called “conservative” people who, through their myopic lens, are only comfortable when everything remains the same, consistent and reliable. The vast majority of our planet lives in this fantasy state where they convince themselves that they must delay any decision until there is 100% certainty.

Those with the worst strains of this disease are known as “bureaucrats.” “Status quo” is their religion. They worship the “God of Sameness.” But what they fail to understand is that everything in the universe is subjected to the laws of entropy. Without energy, determination or a counter to these powerful forces, the “status quo” is meaningless. When everything is connected to everything else, you can’t leave one thing alone and expect it to remain the same.

The lesson here is this: when you accept the universal law that “shit is the default setting,” you will no longer feel a need to waste your valuable energy, focus and attention being frustrated by it. You will invest your time and attention in the far more productive approach of countering what is just the natural state of the universe: disorder.

Don’t fear change. Fear those who espouse the delusion of the status quo.


Dan Gilbert is founder and chairman of Detroit-based Quicken Loans, the second-largest residential lender in the country. Dan is also majority owner of the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. One of Dan’s primary missions is transforming his hometown Detroit and second home Cleveland, through investment into a wide range of businesses, real estate, philanthropy, and leadership. Gilbert has moved and created nearly 17,000 full-time jobs in downtown Detroit over the past six years and employs nearly 3,000 in Cleveland. Gilbert’s portfolio of more than 100 affiliated companies employ more than 30,000 people across the country. To learn about Dan’s “ISMs,” unique philosophy, and the leading culture that drives success across Gilbert’s family of companies, click here.

Originally published at medium.com

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