I can recognise in people’s eyes the moment that changes everything.
That moment when the fear inside becomes less pressing than the desire to make a difference.
I remember my own moment, just over 3 years ago, when the power of possibility and necessity burst through my own fear of stepping out into the world in a larger way. It was one of the most significant moments in my life and certainly the most significant moment in terms of my impact on the world around me.
In the past few years, I have seen this moment arise so many times in others.
The events that Jock and I curate and deliver in our community are designed to get as many people as possible to experience the ‘moment’. For us, success is not measured by the number of people who attend our events, but by the number of people who transform the direction of their lives.
We have an affectionate term for people who experience the ‘moment’ at our events – we call them ‘snappers’. We can spot the moment happening. There is a slightly wild look in their eyes, as the powerful new energy of possibility bursts through, overwhelming their latent fears. It’s similar to what happens in the eyes of a child or dog who gets over-excited while playing. We have become very good at identifying their moment of realisation and at making it happen.
We focus on two things that help this moment to occur in people.
One, we burn the platform they are clinging onto – whatever that may be, for each individual. It might be the illusion of financial security that keeps them stuck and stops them from making changes. Whatever it is, one way to deal with the paralysis of fear is to give people no option but to see that they have to jump, at some point. It may require us to bring the meaninglessness of their entrenched belief to the surface, or remind them that life is temporary, and has an end-point. The world or the reality they are holding onto cannot, and will not, exist in the future.
Secondly, we close the chasm of possibility between where they are now and where they want to be. Consider the one thing about the world that they would change, if they could. How do we get them closer to taking action to achieve it? Part of it involves us demonstrating that other humans, just like them, are doing it. Part of it is showing them that we now have huge technological opportunities to do things that we could never have done before. Another part is simply making people aware that they can do something. Whatever it is, there is a way to make the jump feel much easier.
For philanthropists, investing in the creation of that moment – when a person dedicates their life to improving the world around them in a significant way – is the most powerful high-leverage investment that could ever be made.
Over time, what is the cumulative impact of a human being doing something positive for the world?
What is the ripple effect of that impact on all the human beings affected along the way?
This moment – this spark within an individual – is huge. It is the cornerstone of both community and world transformation. Ultimately, millions of people around the world need to go through this transformation in a relatively short period of time. So, it is great to know that an environment can be created to initiate that moment – and the world is getting better at creating such environments.
The challenging thing for us – and the world – is that it is incredibly hard to quantify. Capturing that moment and measuring its success is difficult. Yet, since it marks the spark of possibility and the turning point of belief, this moment is the very genesis of creating impact.
If it could be effectively measured, I am certain it would prove the case for a radically different way to transform our societies.
To changing the world, one moment at a time.