Failure brings one of two outcomes each time:
- True failure (aka: you give up)
- A Tipping Point (aka: you rise from the ashes)
We rarely hear about the former. Those who give up don’t tend to tell their story. Whereas those who find a way to turn failure into success… there are plenty such examples, and they provide immense motivation to any person still striding towards their version of success (whatever that may look like to you).
In his book of the same name, Malcolm Gladwell describes a ‘tipping point’ as, “that magic moment when an idea, DIAGNOSIS trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, TIPS, and spreads like wildfire.”
In my book, ‘The Successful Mistake’, I focus on a different type of ‘tipping point’: that moment when you see light at the end of the tunnel, after your mistake or failure has created havoc in your life.
Either way, both of these represent the same thing: a shift.
It’s a turning point in your journey, and in my experience (after interviewing 163 successful people about how they overcame adversity), such tipping points form in two ways.
‘Aha’ or ‘Red Car’…
Sometimes these moments of inspiration come in an instant. It’s the right conversation, at the right time, with the right someone. “Aha,” you say, as it all makes sense.
That mistake you made that has been eating you up inside… all of a sudden, you see light at the end of the tunnel. In a single moment, your tipping point arrives.
This does happen. Momentary epiphanies do occur.
But a more regular occurrence is when several conversations take place over several weeks with several types of people. To begin with you listen and take it in, but you’re not ready to hear. But after a little while it clicks, and just like that… your tipping point arrives.
I call this ‘red car syndrome’, and it’s a phenomena I’m sure you’ve experienced yourself.
You buy a new car, and all of a sudden you see the same model and colour everywhere.
You read a book about ‘mindset’, and suddenly you see the topic of ‘mindset’ crops up online all the time.
Or, like the time I learned I was an impending father, you begin to see babies EVERYWHERE.
When the apple falls on your head
As I say, sometimes your tipping point arrives in a moment of inspiration.
There are famous examples of such epiphanies. Take the supposed moment when an innocent apple fell on Isaac Newton’s head. The second before, Isaac worked hard to solve the problem that puzzled him for so long.
But then, in an instantaneous flash, “aha”.
It made sense. Light erupted before him as the puzzle pieced together.
I dare say you have experienced similar moments of brilliance, when suddenly the answer seems to simple. You were blind but now you see, and it all makes sense. A tipping point; a turning point in what happens next.
Yet… do such occurrences really happen in a moment?
Or is it more a case that the apple fell on his head at the right time, only after he consumed himself with the problem for the period of time leading up to this.
In other words, he opened his eyes to the possibility of that ‘aha’ moment.
When one apple isn’t enough
In my experience, a single apple rarely tells the entire tale. It grabs the glory, but what’s forgotten is the journey leading up to it.
After all, this wasn’t the first time Mr Newton saw an apple fall to the ground. He had spent his entire life surrounded by the notion of gravity, yet it was only during that moment it made sense; that he noticed.
This is how ‘red car syndrome’ works, or by its scientific term, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.
Without diving into the science, it’s the simple process of your brain connecting dots.
You read something and enjoy it, so your brain becomes more conscious of similar topics. You buy a red car and spend the rest of the day excited and happy, so your brain twigs to every red car that passes you by.
There are no more red cars today than yesterday, just like there weren’t more babies the day before I found out about my impending fatherhood. Yet all of a sudden that red car (or baby) is more relevant to you, so your chances of noticing it increase.
As such, during the days, weeks, and months leading up to Sir Isaac’s discovery, he bit-by-bit opened his eyes and prepared his mind, until one day… “aha”.
The apple fell.
Gravity… of course!
How To Spot Your Tipping Point After a BIG Business Mistake
So, what has all this got to do with business, mistakes, and failure?
Well the fact is, you will make mistakes. You will fail. Life WILL throw obstacles your way.
Sometimes these are small, and pass you by. Sometimes these are big and unhinge your world. When the latter happens, you spiral into a dark place. You cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, and this continues until you give up all together or reach your own tipping point.
During such a period of time, you have two choices:
- You can increase your chances of finding your tipping point by opening your eyes.
- You can hope for the best, until that ‘aha’ moment finds you.
This isn’t rocket science. This isn’t reserved for genius minds like the one Isaac Newton had.
You can do this.
You can get yourself into the best frame of mind possible, stay positive, and consciously (and subconsciously) search for the solution. The moment you do, you flip a switch in your brain.
You figuratively open its eyes, and you increase your chances of ‘finding’ the solution (instead of hoping it finds you). You welcome it into your life, instead of shutting the door and boarding up the windows.