Get a (New) Grip – How a Small Change Can Have a Big Impact
“By changing nothing, nothing changes.”
– Tony Robbins
Often it is the smallest changes that can have the biggest effects.
I just finished reading The Tipping Point; How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s brilliant.
Basically, “The Tipping Point” is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. “Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu,” reads the copy on the back of the book, “so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in crime rate.”
But reading the book got me thinking that reaching a tipping point may also work on a personal level i.e. by making small changes in our behavior, we may be able to significantly increase the impact of our actions.
Then I went out for a dinner with a friend and he inadvertently shared with me a perfect example of this. He told me how, after years of being told by a buddy to get his golf swing analyzed by a pro, he finally got around to doing so. And the first thing he needed to change was his grip.
Sure enough, by making a slight change in the way he held the 7 iron, he went from hitting the ball 150 yards to 166 yards.
I shrugged, not overly excited. “So you gained 16 yards.”
“Well, yeah…I increased the distance by 16 yards,” he said. “But that’s not a huge deal. What matters is the direction: the ball finally went where I wanted it to go.”
Then he explained to me the mechanics of how the new grip meant he was able to get a longer back swing and therefore more follow-through and so on. And the writer in me couldn’t help but notice a lovely analogy to life: when we change our grip – our attitude, perspective, daily habits, priorities, etc – this small change has the potential to significantly impact both the direction and distance we go in our lives.
But at the end of the day, my friend is absolutely right: if we aren’t going in the direction we want to go, the distance we travel – how far we get – doesn’t really matter.
For it is one thing to get a grip…it is quite another to have the courage to change it when it’s no longer getting us where we want to go.
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.