"Emotion is contagious" (1) is a quote from the book "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. On the book cover, the author added the subtitle "How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference". The premise of the book is that social epidemics have a tipping point, a moment where they go from negligible unseen trends to the next intense wave of popularity.
As one of my favorite books, the concept of a "tipping point" has been a key driver of my life, both personally and professionally. In business, truly lasting success is built on incremental relationship improvements that over time increase the level of contagious emotion. At its most basic element, business is about people relationships.
It is about believing in the person in front of you and the value they can bring to your company. Especially in B2B, great products on their own cannot make the emotional bond to lasting business relationships. The combination of positive personal relationships and great products has always been the foundation of many successful companies.
There is a clear distinction between emotional moments that stop us in our tracks and longer term trends that lead to positive (and sometimes negative) life changes. Depending on your age, following are a few examples of emotional moments that we will always remember (including what exactly you were doing at that moment in time):
- President John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963 > Video - http://ow.ly/oSJD4
- The NASA landing on the moon in July 1969 > http://ow.ly/oSJKv
- The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 > http://ow.ly/oSJO3
- The 9/11 terrorist events in New York in 2001 > http://ow.ly/oSK5T
- The Japanese 2011 Tsunami > http://ow.ly/oSKbr
These emotional public moments are impactful, but for most of us, they do not lead to long term life changing re-direction.
Private emotional moments, coupled with conscious / subconscious signals on where you are at that point in your life, are the drivers of important personal and business tipping points. Key private emotional moments include:
Death of a close family member
- Change in the direction of your career
- Serious illness of a close friend
- The belief that you are facing imminent death (as in flying in an airplane making an emergency landing and being told to assume the bracing position - yes did happen to me).
The key to success is not rushing through life ignoring or trying to quickly forget these emotional moments in time. Quite the opposite, life changing moments are a time to re-assess where you are, reset if necessary to address past mistakes, and seriously evaluate how to leverage the powerful thoughts present to move to the next positive tipping point.
Emotion is the most important element that will shape your life's personal and professional journey. At the personal level, if you can think beyond the pain, emotion provides very powerful self-reflective moments that can give you clues on how to improve your life. At the professional level, emotional bonds are the foundational elements to value differentiation. You will pay more, if you are emotionally attached to the concept of the product or the solution in front of you.
Want to truly have a successful personal and professional life? Then:
- Intensively listen to the unseen negligible trends of your journey to date.
- Become a student of knowledge to understand what each of these trends is telling you and more importantly what they are building to.
- Have the courage to leverage the tipping point to the next level of your life or business journey.
Focus on the emotion of the moment that is leading you to the new tipping point. Understand that it is a very powerful force on which to build a successful transition. Your positive transition will benefit everyone around you. Emotion is contagious and it is the tipping point to success.