Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Tipping Point

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Certain phrases and labels mysteriously appear in the everyday lexicon and virally spread. Before long Four Wheel Drive vehicles are the quaint labels used by absent-minded old codgers to describe SUV’s.  Portfolios used to refer to man-purses carried by toffs. All day has morphed in to 24/7 and social networking has erupted from the realm of Church tea and scone get togethers in to the ubiquitous tweeting of mass popular culture.
A few years back it seemed like all change was described as a paradigm shift. More recently the term ‘Tipping Point” has made its entrance.
Unlike the word paradigm, which is a non-descriptive word without soul and colour, favoured by Lawyers and politicians for the obvious reason that they facilitate obfuscation, I quite like this new player. You can mentally shift gears when imagining a tipping point.
With the warp speed evolution of ideas into things and an apparent unquenchable appetite for the novel and uber cool latest technology; tipping points become relevant reference points to measure key predictors of performance-read profit.
When did Facebook move from being a nerdy indulgence into the leviathan it now is? At what point did Obama move from obscurity into the barely comprehensible position he now holds? Ideas hover as intangible flights of fancy until a tipping point where an action takes place. Individual actions appear irrelevant until a point when for no apparent reason the masses jump on board and the virus takes hold.
If only we could predict the tipping point and adapt accordingly. That point just before a relationship moves from uninspiring to broken, or from a brief glance into a full-blown life passion.
Some people seem to have a multitude of life tipping points. Eureka moments and moments of profound clarity that completely redefines their future endeavours. Many alas don’t. Those poor souls who live lives of quiet desperation, taxiing down the runway of their life, never quite committing to accelerating enough to take off.
In a world of immeasurable options, we all have potential tipping points on a daily basis that can potentially reshape our whole life experience. To protect ourselves from the chaos and anarchy of unpredictability, we covet our comfort zones. Comfort is not to be under estimated. The danger of course is that this zone is often not actually that comfortable, but ‘better the devil…’
If there is a message it’s this. Sometimes there’s merit and reward in throwing off the shackles of predictability and embracing the unknown. Tipping points are usually noticed after we’ve stepped over the edge. So there’s a risk, a risk of falling flat on your face, but nothing ventured nothing gained.
Hope your Tipping Point works out well for you!