What’s your tipping point?

I think we all of us have things in life that annoy us, trigger or fire us up.

Discrimination, bullying, poverty, homelessness, injustice, to name just a few.

Many of us have a cause or two close to our hearts, things that we passionately would love to change. Yet how many of us act to further those causes?

It can be all too easy to fall into active ‘passivisim’. Have you heard that term before? It’s where we feel strongly that something is wrong, yet take no action to change it. An example would be believing that bullying is wrong, even stating it out loud yet not acting to stop it or call bullies out.

Our passivisim can stem from beliefs like:

  • One person can’t make a difference
  • Things will change eventually without our intervention
  • It’s not our place to change things
  • Nothing will ever change.

In all honesty, how many of us have been there?

How many of us have held back from getting involved, because we have one or more of these beliefs?

If each and every one of us believes that we can’t made a difference, how will anything ever change?

If each and every one of us believes that things will change without our intervention, who will be responsible for making change happen?

If each and every one of us believes it is not our place to change things, whose place is it?

And simply by believing these 3 things the fourth will always be true: nothing will ever change.

Starfish on the beach

This reminds me of a lovely story that beautifully illustrates my point…

An old man was walking along the shore one morning after a big storm and found the beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see.

He noticed a young boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often to bend down and pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The man asked him what he was doing.

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he smiled and said, “I made a difference to that one!”


If that one boy is joined on the beach by another person and another and more, imagine what a difference they could make!

This is often exactly how change is created – through small, committed groups of people pressing for reform or persistently taking action. There’s even a theory that relates to the tipping point for societal change. You can more about it in this blog here.

Standard economic theory suggests that societal change will occur only when 51% of the population band together to achieve it. It stands to reason that change would require at least a small majority to back it, doesn’t it?

Yet a more recent study has led to a different theory, which indicates that only 25% of the population is required to drive change. It also showed that groups just below this tipping point just don’t realise how close they are to success.

So, all it takes is for one in every 4 people to want to see change and to take action. Surely that’s not so hard to achieve? As a young woman I was an animal rights activist and campaigned for several years against cosmetic experiments, the fur industry, fox hunting and intensive farming. We campaigned long and hard. Sometimes it was quite disheartening as it felt like nothing would change, but in the end a number of things did. This is one of the reasons I have enduring hope and belief that we can invoke and bring about change.

Just imagine how it would be if we acted together to be the 25% or the 51% driving positive change forward. Just imagine how much cultural, societal and global chang we could create.

Our personal tipping point

Now, this also begs the question – where’s our personal tipping point? 

What has to happen for us to move from active passivisim to action?

I’m no different from many of us I’m sure, when I say that much as I have strong principles and values, I’ve let active passivism be the norm for me at times. I might talk with friends about how wrong something is but not take action to change it. I might have believed that educating people about equality and diversity was enough, even though deep down I really knew it wasn’t.

In the past 12 months that’s all changed for me. Somewhere in that time the balance shifted and I reached my personal tipping point. I realised that it’s not enough to speak about causes that are dear to me. It’s about being true to my core values and my purpose in life. It’s about standing up for what’s important to me and taking action that is congruent with who I am.

The power of belief

  • I believe that one person can make a difference
  • I believe that things will change much faster if we act together
  • I believe that it is the place of all of us to change things
  • I believe that we have the power to change everything.

Have you reached your personal tipping point yet? Have you reached a point in life where you look around you at what’s happening and feel that it’s time to take a stand?

Perhaps you feel unclear about your values, your principles and purpose? Or perhaps you’ve lost sight of them or need help to work out what they are? Perhaps you have a growing sense of discomfort but aren’t sure why? Or it might be that you feel things are not right in the world around you but haven’t quite worked out what you’d like to see instead.

Wherever you are right now, if you’d like help to reconnect with who you are so you can get clear about what is important to you in life and so that you can be the change you want to see and drive it too, then some NLP coaching could be really valuable for you. If you’d like to find out how I work, then get in touch.

NLP could be the tipping point you and society need.