Tipping Points -- Moments of Change That Define Us

It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped
— Tony Robbins

I will never forget what Tony Robbins said in I Am Not Your Guru -- the Netflix original series about his famous 6-day self-discovery seminar. He said that when we have break-throughs, they happen in a moment. It may take someone 10 years or 5 seconds to have that moment, but these moments define us. Lets call these moments tipping points.

I've had many tipping points in my life -- some, less significant than others. The two major tipping points that I will share have shaped who I am today. And, by no means am I any better or worse than you are -- I just believe I would be in a very dark place without these tipping points.

My Two Major Tipping Points

Tipping Point 1

My actual eyeballs were sweating and my heart rate had reached an unhealthy resting state of 150+ BPM. I was saying my final speech for the Dale Carnegie public speaking course in my grade 11 year of school. The speech was a success and I will always credit my “transformation” from a fat and useless kid, to slightly less fat and useless kid, to the course. There is a reason Warren Buffet has only one certification on his wall in Omaha -- yup, that is the completion of the Dale Carnegie public speaking course.

The public speaking course paired with Mr Carnegie's book, How To Win Friends And Influence People, taught me that in order to succeed you have to respect your body as well as your mind. It also instilled in me how to confidently speak in front of a large group of people -- in fact, at one point during my schooling career after the completion of the course, my English teacher told me that my speech was too relaxed -- I’m not even joking.

If you do not show respect for your body and mind, how are you ever supposed to get respect from individuals -- especially the ones who do the hiring. If you as a manager are faced with two identical individuals with brilliant minds, except the one is visually more overweight than the other, who are you going to choose? Most likely the fit and healthy looking one. This is not to say you are a dickhead for choosing the fit guy over the fat one, but, it's human nature. There is no denying we judge people the minute we see them -- it's proven in psychology. So looking after yourself immediately gives you a one-up on all the lazy sods you may face

My moment, or tipping point, occurred when I got into my mothers car after that final speech. An overwhelming feeling came over me. In that moment, I felt I had to do everything I could to ensure I am growing mentally. I call this phase in my life my Mental-shift. This is when I discovered motivational videos and content that I would bombard myself with to get me into an alternative state of mind. But, like anything, it didn't last long. In fact, I let myself go further into the abyss of depression and anxiety. But, sometimes we have to take a step backwards to move forward -- hence, tipping point number two.

Tipping Point 2

It was New Years 2012, and were celebrating it like any other young adults at the time -- drinking enough booze to make you hurl like a cat that has just eaten it's own feces. Not very pleasant, but the memories (or lack thereof) were good.

We were at my friends house on a dam just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. I was, at this point in my life, the heaviest I had ever been weighing around 90kg. Not only was my weight an issue, but I was undeniably depressed and filled with constant anxiety. To the point where every night I kind of wished I wasn't on the planet anymore. To some of my friends this may be a shock, but I was skilled at placing an impenetrable facade that protruded a false sense of joy and happiness. My days comprised of getting home from school, napping for a couple of hours, playing computer games until the early hours of the morning, living off cereal and waking up feeling like a zombie ready to do it again.

I remember sitting by the pool after that New Years thinking to myself, something has to change. I decided this "change" has to begin on a biological level. I started eating healthy food (follow this for what I eat) and I ended up losing over 30kg. I have never looked back since. This was my Biological-shift.

These two tipping points added up to equal two moments of change. And, its often years after these moments have occurred that you can connect the dots. As Steve Jobs said famously during the commencement speech at Stanford University; we can't connect the dots looking forward, we can can only connect the dots looking back.

At the time it may seem random and frivolous, but later on you will connect the dots and understand how it shaped you.


Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What moment set you up for a series of successes or failures? Did it happen over time or in an instant?
  2. What are your major tipping points and what have you learned as a result?

Tipping points are what define us. Tipping points create incentives for change -- if you’re not regularly taking a step back and wondering what the hell you’re doing on this planet, I would argue you’re not having enough tipping points. When you start digging deeper into your own existence and what value you are providing this world, you tend to worry less about the trivial many and worry more about the critical few.

The critical few are what matter -- whether that is in relationships, friendships or even materialistically. Focus on what matters and your tipping points will bubble to the surface like you've just farted in the pool. Stop, and smell the beauty that is life (don't smell too hard though, you may just barf) and only stress about the abnormaltities that are worth stressing about.

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light
— Aristotle

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BE YOURSELF BE PRESENT BE BOUNDLESS