The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

March 7, 2008
By Bapalapa2 ELITE, Brooklyn, New York
Bapalapa2 ELITE, Brooklyn, New York
1044 articles 0 photos 1 comment

At the beginning of the year we were asked to read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, and right a paper on how the books ideas could effect our lives. The following essay is how I thought the tipping principal Gladwell discusses could positively affect my community.

Tipping a Community from Lagging to not too Shabby

Things change everyday in communities. One person will do something and others will follow. Although it is difficult to change a persons thoughts and or beliefs a tipping point among a community is not only possible its inevitable. The real question isn't whether or not a chain reaction change is possible, that's a given. The real question is can it be used to help a community in a good way and to put it lightly, of course it can.

In my own personal views on this type of human behavior I have, many times, come to find that tipping points within a community are all around us. Example, one person will paint their house a different color. Thus trying to improve and or change their immediate surroundings. Within weeks of seeing this occur another person will begin to paint theirs. A second example would be mowing the lawn. When winter ends and spring begins no one mows their lawn until they witness that another human has done so. Third a person may plant some flowers then their neighbors seeing this may plant ones as well. Things like these occur all the time right here all around us. These little incidents that occur are almost like miniature competitions. Almost to say that if one person takes pride in their own immediate surroundings then others will follow. Eventually the houses in one neighborhood will be painted colors instead of just white.

At the end of the week all the lawns will be mowed and there will be well kept gardens in every front yard. Turning a once maybe colorless street, into a vibrant tiny community where people whether they know it or not are participating in a territory competition. Because one person tried to better their home, a street turned into a nice neighborhood.

We see things change from street to street all the time. Some may be getting better others may be worse. If we tried, could we use this weird competition, we all have with each other, to better our community and how it looks. In Cayuga County I would like to see people begin to appreciate their county. Within the limits of Auburn, especially. There are parts of town where things are well kept but others that are in need of repair. Why is that the way. Why shouldn't the entire town be a beautiful place to live. Being seniors at Auburn High School we will be leaving this town to go to college soon. If we could start a tipping point before we left. It would be amazing to come back and see a better more beautiful community had developed in our absence.

A good way of doing so would be to start little. Throwing massive projects at people will cause them to lose interest. We could start by taking small groups of people once a month and, giving them supplies to clean up, have them walk downtown for a little bit picking up waste. Put ads in a newspaper that say, "help make our community a better place." Send fliers to schools, in order to get kids interested. Basically slowly show people that some are willing to better the town. Eventually enough will be interested to help, sort of playing off the mentality if he/she's doing it why shouldn't I. More people, more things will be getting done causing us to then be able to move on to bigger projects. Such as painting old buildings, or planting flowers, or even constructing nicer playgrounds for children. Eventually people will grow to think "hey maybe this towns not so bad after all. He's helping the community maybe I could to." This would cause a sense of respect for both the people and the property of the town.

Tipping points always start slowly and end up with a giant after affect. Change is possible. We just need to find that little tiny push that will send it all over the edge.

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