‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell

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The Tipping Point

BOOK REVIEW of ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell

This book addresses the phenomena of epidemics in behaviour. It’s premise is that there are certain types of people that start, broaden and continue certain trends in a particular way that is almost formulaic.

These are Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople – all of which play their part in translating and transmitting the mesage from the Innovators of the world.

Connectors: “These people who link us up with the world, who bridge Omaha and Sharon, who introduce us to our social circles – these people on whom we rely on more heavily than we realize – are Connectors, people with a very special gift of bringing people together.”

Mavens: “A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests … they like to be helpers in the marketplace. They distribute coupons. They take you shopping. They go shopping for you … This is the person who connects people to the marketplace and has the inside scoop on the marketplace.”

Salespeople: “Mavens are data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it. But there is also a select group of people – Salespeople – with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing, and they are as critical to the tipping of word-of-mouth epidemics as the other two groups.”

Things I learned from this book include…

Stickyness – a product or service must be of such quality and usefulness that it lives up to the hype of the reporting of it by the Mavens and Connectors. It must create involvement (engagement) of the target audience.

The Sesame Street Lesson – Kids tune out when things get confusing, even things designed to be exciting (to adults) proved to be confusing to kids and they switched attention. Lesson: know your audience, understand how they want to consume your content and in what situations are they most open to receiving your message.

Which peronality trait are you aiming at? – Studies have shown that children will lie and cheat depending on the circumstances of a situation. Therefore personality traits are not set in stone. Don’t expect adults to be any different, if you’re trying to create an epidemic around your product or service understand the personality traits of your audience as they’re in the situation they come in to contact with your communication, or, news of it via the Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople.

Fundamental Attribution Error – We are more intelligent about human situations than abstract ones, which is maybe why human based stories capture our attention. Gladwell writes: “(FAE) …is a fancy way of saying that when it comes to interpreting other people’s behaviour, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation or context.” He concludes that there seems to be a mental sleight of hand that helps us reduce the complexity of decision making.

Unfortunately, this usually means our decisions only appear to be rational.

The Power of 150 – The human neocortex ratio of the brain = 150. This means the maximum number of genuine social relationships we can handle is approx. 150. Gore Co. (makers of Goretex) limit the number of employees working in it’s buildings to around 150 for this reason, they find that people function more efficiently, happily and innovatively in groups no larger than this. Mormons split their communities once they reach 150 into two groups of approx. 75. The military have found that units of soldiers operate optimally at 200 or below.

Lastly, Gladwell hypothesises that understanding tipping points when it comes to things like cigarette addiction could have significant impact. Trying to curb the initial usage of cigarettes by youngsters is pointless. No amount of persuasion over the decades has made much difference because of the rebellious nature of teenagers.

He suggests that curbing the stickyness (or addiction) is needed – IE: reduce the nicotine levels to make addiction less likely.

The concepts in this book require some deep thought and can be applied to all walks of life not just marketing. For instance his story of crime reduction on the New York subways simply by cleaning up graffiti is inspirational.

On a thought provoking basis I give this book 8 out of 10.





5 Ways Journaling Can Help You Get Through the Hard Stuff

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“In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather—in many cases—offers an alternative to it.” ~Susan Sontag

My first journal was born into existence when I was twelve. I remember carefully choosing my favorite comics, pictures from magazines, and the odd scribble I’d drawn. Tongue stuck out in concentration, gluing them strategically on an unused exercise book. Wrangling with the clear sticky contact mum used to cover my schoolbooks, I encased the precious creation in it, preserving it forevermore: Nicole’s Diary.

Needless to say it’s an extremely embarrassing collection of teenage angst, weird bits and pieces like lists of potential names for a child I didn’t and still don’t want; pages of dialogue between myself and other people with in-depth analysis of these conversations beyond anything reasonable; and daydreaming about the life I wished I had or complaining about the life I did have.

Whenever I happen upon this old journal, It takes strength not to throw it away, just in case some invisible person were ever to discover it and think this was actually me.

The journals since then have gone through phases. Phases where I wrote every day, or just once every few months. Where I was obsessed with recording quotes or where I collected everything from movie tickets to foreign sweet wrappers. There are endless lists, ways to improve myself, deep sadness, furious anger, joyful enthusiasm, unbridled hope, and ponderings on love during many a loving or loveless encounter.

Historically journaling has been extremely popular, and if you think about the mountains of YouTubers and bloggers, it still is.

They used to be more of a private affair, but consider the way we write when we really let the pen go. We’ve derived important pieces of the past from people’s journals. Are they genuine portraits of the time, or just endless, worrisome chatter from a mind trying to figure stuff out?

These days it’s popular to have a gratitude journal, and I can see why—the idea being to cultivate gratitude as part of our being, and not give so much weight to the negative and the worrying. Remembering what we are grateful for is supposed to give us perspective on the hard stuff.

But I don’t know. Writing about the hard stuff is actually what helps me get through it. It’s what makes journaling so incredibly powerful.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Journaling is the act of processing the past (and sometimes the future) in the here and now.

For many of us, talking and writing isn’t about performance or the telling of something—it’s actually the processing. Getting it outside of yourself can give it a new shape.

It’s like opening the clothes drier mid-cycle. You interrupt the cyclic thinking and the jumble of ideas fall out, allowing each one to be tossed around and thought about on it’s own. The amount of times solutions have begun to appear while I was actually writing is astounding.

2. Writing is and of itself cathartic.

Try this: Set the timer on your phone for ten minutes, grab a pen, and write about your day until the alarm goes. Give yourself permission to burn it if you find yourself getting held back by the worries of who is going to read it (or delete it if you typed).

Even if nothing at all has happened, you will most certainly have thoughts in your head that are dying to get out. Offloading conscious and subconscious stuff helps the mind become clearer and you calmer.

3. Feelings and experiences become less overwhelming.

A while ago I wrote a blog post about my partner’s beautiful little old dog being killed in a car accident. When I was writing the piece, I found myself crying almost the whole time.

As I described the accident, moved onto what she meant to him, as I remembered my own times with her, it became an incredibly meaningful process. I spent some time looking for photos and wanted to honor her and the humans she had touched in her life.

Writing about the grief helped me immensely. It slowed it down as well as enriched her life. I stopped simply wanting to escape the awful feeling and instead was able to wade through it and just feel. Even if no one read it, I felt like I’d created a full-bodied process—a eulogy—that honored her and helped me hold her light after she’d passed.

4. Reading back helps reveal patterns.

Sure, it can be frustrating to look back at a journal from three years ago and see that you are writing about the same thing in the same ways again, but that can also be empowering. It’s a researcher’s dream: go back and investigate and then spend some time reflecting on what keeps you stuck if you notice patterns.

Similarly, you can celebrate any little (or big) changes you have made. “Wow, I used to worry about what people thought of me so much… it seems now I’m more concerned with what I think of myself and if I’m being a good person. What does that tell me about my journey so far? What do I want to take with me moving forward?”

5. You can use creative journaling to change your story.

We tend to tell our stories in the same way over and over, emphasizing the same points in the same ways, and even adding to a narrative by noticing everything that fits in with the story and ignoring everything that doesn’t.

If that narrative is overwhelmingly negative (i.e.: I’m a people pleaser; I’m a doormat; I’m hopeless; I’m a victim; I’m unlovable; I’m always anxious; I can’t do anything about this; Only jerks like me etc.) then it can lead to a full-on negative identity conclusion based on one pretty shaky theme.

Try injecting some freshness into a tired story. Journal prompts easily found via Google can help you do that, inviting you to answer questions you wouldn’t normally think of in the context of any given experience.

Writing requires you to dig a little deeper into stories, where you may find that the ‘full’ conclusion isn’t based on much: you’ve dated a few jerks and have decided that you only ever attract terrible people. But if you are prompted to consider all the facts, there was a decent person who you just weren’t attracted to, so is there a more truthful nuanced conclusion to be considered in this narrative?

What becomes available when you widen your perspective?

I can think of a bunch more reasons why journaling deserves a comeback, but I hope these five have injected some enthusiasm in you as a great starting ground. Just last month I began my own personal project of writing almost daily again, as well as launching a little Facebook group to discuss journal prompts.

Sharing some of your writing has an added benefit of being seen—becoming visible in the ways you want and feel safe to. To acknowledge your struggles as well as find humor in them, and be able to see beauty in who you are no matter what, is more than worthy of the little effort it takes to pick up a pen (or use a voice machine) and pour ourselves onto the page.


About Nicole Hind

Nicole Hind is an Australian online counselor who fiercely believes that we all have stories that deserve to be wrenched out of the shadows, increase a sense of hope, of self-worth, and provide clarity on how to approach challenges for the rest of our lives. If you’re curious go and scroll through her website, she’s open to new inquiries:

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Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post 5 Ways Journaling Can Help You Get Through the Hard Stuff appeared first on Tiny Buddha.


How to Be There for Others Without Taking on Their Pain

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“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” ~Melody Beattie

When our loved ones suffer, it’s hard not to get swept up in their pain. We want so desperately to fix them, to take away their hardship, and to see them flourishing.

As a control freak, I often find myself going into “fixer mode” when my partner is struggling with work stress, which only makes me more anxious when nothing I suggest works, and him more frustrated when I get so preoccupied with his issues.

Then, after all my frantic attempts at control, there’s a little voice inside that tells me to stop. To listen. To be there for him without trying to change anything. To witness his pain and sit next to him while he feels it.

In this way, it’s not my job to fix his problems. It’s my job to be there for him with love as he figures out how to handle his own suffering. I am freed from feeling the responsibility of taking on his pain.

Here are a few tips for how to not get overwhelmed when others are suffering.

Realize that being supportive doesn’t mean fixing their problems.

I often think back to when my mental health was at its worst. I dealt with debilitating panic disorder, agoraphobia, and depression, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for my family to see me suffering so greatly.

But what I am most grateful for during that time is that my loved ones never tried to fix me. They didn’t become obsessed with finding a solution, and they didn’t rush me to get better. All of that would have increased my anxiety tenfold.

Instead, they simply supported me. They constantly let me know that they were there for me if I needed them. Just knowing that I had someone to count on if things got hard was incredibly helpful.

One way we can be supportive of others is to practice listening without the intent to respond with solutions. What would that be like if we simply held space for others without needing to respond?

I took a yoga workshop recently where we partnered up with a stranger and took turns sharing our struggles. The one not speaking had to simply listen, and was not allowed to respond.

So we practiced listening with our whole bodies, hearts, and minds, released from the need to think of something to say in return. Instead, we got to be a loving witness to this person’s experience.

Sometimes all that our loved ones need is to be seen, and to know that someone is there for them.

Allow them to find their own way.

This can be hard. It’s hard to let go of control so much that you allow other people to have their own journeys. If my family or partner had stepped in during my rough patches with panic disorder, I wouldn’t have gone through the trenches of it myself.

I wouldn’t have learned my own strength. I wouldn’t have been so amazingly transformed, body, mind, and soul, as I am now.

At that time, I didn’t need someone to take away my pain; I needed someone to be there with love and patience as I experienced my own pain.

Can we offer loving suggestions? Sure. Can we help them in productive ways? Of course. But at the end of the day, it is their lesson to learn. And we have to practice letting go of the outcome.

When a relative passed from cancer a couple of years ago, it was horrifying to see her transform from a vibrant woman to a frail, bedridden one, writhing in pain. Those last few days, she lost her vision. She couldn’t eat or drink. All she wanted was for the suffering to end.

After witnessing this, I automatically wanted to take on that pain. I felt it as my own. I started to suffer the pain she was experiencing.

Eventually, I had to realize that this was her journey. This was her pain, not mine, and I didn’t have to take that on. It actually doesn’t help anyone or anything for us to carry around pain that isn’t even ours.

Realize that you’re only responsible for yourself.

You can’t control other people. You can’t control who suffers and who doesn’t. And what a burden that would be if we felt we needed to safeguard everyone in our lives from pain. That’s too overwhelming.

You are only responsible for yourself. So how can you take better care of yourself as you care for others?

If there’s someone in your life who is going through a rough time, you have to respect your own limits. You have to set boundaries in how much you can safely and lovingly give.

Giving to others when we are depleted ourselves doesn’t serve us, and it doesn’t serve them if they aren’t receiving your help out of love, but out of obligation or fear.

Instead, find ways you can care for and respect yourself, so that you can be available as a support if that feels appropriate and safe for you.

Practice grounding back into your own body and energy field often.

When we’re caring for others, we may have a tendency to take on their energy. It’s like when we’re around an angry person. Even if we’re not angry ourselves, we may feel our heart quicken, our breathing become shallow, and our temperature start to rise.

Practice grounding back into your own body so that you can recognize what’s yours and what is not.

One way to do this is to get physical, connecting back to your own body through yoga, exercise, and dance.

Immerse yourself in nature. I love to go hiking when I get overwhelmed with others’ energy, and allow the grounding energy of the earth to support me. Spend time alone.

Anything you can do to bring your attention back to your own body will serve you in grounding your energy.

It can be very difficult to separate ourselves from others and to let go of needing to take away our loved ones’ pain. It’s something I still struggle with, but I’m learning every day that I am not responsible for anyone else. I can be there with love and kindness, but beyond that is out of my control.

All I can control is how well I care for myself, so that this love can then ripple out in support of others.





About Malia Bradshaw

Malia Bradshaw is a yoga teacher, writer, and mental health advocate. You can find more of her work, including her life-changing Meditation Program for Anxiety, blog, e-books, yoga videos, and more at To connect, follow her on Instagram @yogaforanxiety.

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There is Always an Open Door

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There is always an open door of opportunity and possibility.   And it is in your own thought that the door will be shown to you…or not. It begins with  your belief. When you doubt, fear, and worry, and feel you have no where to turn or don’t have answers; that is the moment where you […]


Is Someone or Something Pushing you?

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You can only be pushed to do something if you are willing to be pushed. There are times where someone needs something for you to do and that someone can be urgent and insisting about what they need or want. This can make you feel that uncomfortable resistant pushing thought and feeling that signals you […]