The Moment

The Moment

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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.

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  1. Martha Augustine says

    Hey Marc,
    This is Martha. I am now reading you blog. I am not yet a snapper. No matter, how far I think that I have come, I am still paralysed by my fears.

    I am 56 years old, with a pile of debts, and I hate my job. I would like to teach English as a second language, and right now, I am actually getting information on the various schools that teach the course in my country and online, but lord, am I scared to make this move.

    I am not yet a snapper. Tell me something that will at least give me a shove.

  2. I’ve had this moment in my life just recently. I understand. I also hope to cultivate it in others. I am just now finding your blog [thanks to ikigai] and this post… wow. The irony is that a few weeks ago, I created an online group for some friends I knew who were like me–deeply troubled but highly functioning; those who think too much, feel too much, and say too little. This group has taken off more than I expected, and the reason I mention it is this… I titled it after a quote from Brene Brown, and it is currently called “The Ripple Effect.” When I saw that phrase in your writing, I got the warm-fuzzies. I am finally on the right path.

  3. All this is very well for a man who obviously has financial security obtained through the very capitalistic system he appears to be attacking. How can people give up the roof over their heads by following this tosh? Think again mr Winn. Financial security puts food on the table and pays the bills. Are you advocating that people just drop everything in order to follow your vision? You are advocating a utopia that just isn’t going to happen. Instead of asking us to give up everything, why don’t you demonstrate your self-actualising philosophy and raise money for homeless people? I dare you…

    • Hi James.
      Thanks for the comment. Just to clear a few things up:
      1. I am not against capitalism at all. It is a tool that can be used for both good and bad. Many of the world’s greatest challenges are being solved with the help of markets. It is human behaviour that is the problem.
      2. Making a choice to improve the world does not mean that you have to lose everything. Far from it. There are plenty of people that earn a living making a difference. You can’t make much impact if you don’t have the resources and platform to do so. It can start with as little as turning off the TV and using that time more effectively.
      3.I see financial security is an illusion for many because many of current jobs and industries are about to disappear because of the technological revolution that is going on. In my view a lot of markets will crash, pensions will go bust and property is a huge bubble. It isn’t that don’t think that people should be secure. In my mind you can only do great work if you feel secure. It is that the bulk of what people think security is just isn’t there for me.
      4. Re homelessness. Raising money for the homeless is investing in the symptom rather than the cure. It is not where I choose to spend my time although I appreciate those that do spend their time doing that. At the root of the majority of homelessness in the West is childhood trauma. Healing childhood trauma is one of the top things that I work on. Guernsey will hopefully be one of the first places in the world to have a traumacentric approach to solving poverty which will I believe produce dramatically different results to dealing with poverty than traditional approaches. Time will tell on that though.
      I hope this clears things up a little.

  4. sound reply Marc. Some good views there.

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