Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase before. Gladwell wrote a book about his perspective on tipping points. It’s referred to in several ways: crossing the line, the last straw, triggers, the point of no return, the magic moment — you know the drill.
Tipping points are change catalysts. Why are they most notably associated with pain or negativity? Because we only decide to change when it becomes uncomfortable for us to continue doing what we’re doing/the way we’re doing it. Most of the time, we don’t think about — or sometimes even recognize — the various tipping points in our individual and collective lives.
What is that “magic moment”? How do you know when you’ve had enough, or not enough? When a relationship is over? When it’s time to pop the question? When it’s time to change jobs? When Glen Dreck becomes so ridiculous even Fox doesn’t want him on the air anymore? When you need to panic because your child hasn’t come home yet? When Caribou Barbie finally isn’t on the news giving Yogi Berra a run for his money, without the charm? When to call 911 because of the pain in your chest? When to push The Donald off the top of one of his own towers because his statements and need for media attention are beyond stupid? When to finally give up your favorite pair of shoes because you just shouldn’t be seen in public or private in them anymore? When it’s time to put your parent in the nursing home? When it’s time to quit smoking/drinking? When you’ve had enough chocolate? No, strike that one … not possible, but you get the idea.
Tipping points are different for everyone, though somewhat predictable. They may even be different for you at different times in your life. You may have different tipping points for the same situation but for different people. There can be a fine line between charming and annoying. 🙂
As a nation, we have collectively reached tipping points at various times in our history. We’ve had a revolution against the British, a civil war with ourselves, and protest against a war in Viet Nam, to name a few.
It’s time to get to another tipping point: a tipping point where we no longer put up with political nonsense and shenanigans that are driving this country to ruin. It’s time to ‘just say no’ to not even being on the radar screen.
The unemployment rate is high and rising, but politicians aren’t talking about the fact that a 6.7% unemployment rate has become the new normal (http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/14/news/economy/fed_unemployment/index.htm).
Gas prices are through the roof with Big Oil posting record profits, but our pump pain is still not enough to make us pay attention to the need for alternative fuel (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/02/profits_v_prices.html) though we’ve been talking about the need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels since the 70s.
The nationwide education budget crisis will have long-term ramifications as our dumbing-down increases (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1214), but politicians like Governor Goodhair say things like THEY aren’t the ones firing teachers.
The mortgage meltdown that began in 2006 is expected to become even more bleak in 2011 (wait, is that like being slightly pregnant???) with record numbers of families affected by growing long-term unemployment (http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/ForeclosureRates/2011/01/13/id/382770), but politicians are having pissing contests over deficit reduction.
Estimates are that ~40-50% of your tax dollars go to fund the military — past and current wars plus the military portion from other departments that they don’t tell you about — but the politicians are more concerned with preserving the tax cuts for the wealthy so that their rate is about 9% compared to your average of 40%. (http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Taxes/Advice/YourRealTaxRate40.aspx)
These are just a few examples of our collective invisibility and lack of political ‘capital’ with the very people we elected to office to represent us.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve reached a tipping point. The question is, what will I/we/you do about it?