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After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, I was enlightened by his unique insight to a very common issue: What enables some ideas, behaviors, or products to gain momentum and become successful while others fail? Since this is a blog about living a life of freedom, I will pose “Why are some people able to get out of abusive relationships when others cannot? Today, using the guidance of Gladwell’s book, I will give you five “tipping points” (get it?) to help you regain control of your life and live, once more, in freedom.

Tipping Point 1: Create A Tipping Point

“That one dramatic moment…when everything can change all at once is the Tipping Point.”–Malcolm Gladwell

Change happens in an instant. It’s that “screw this” moment when you finally quit a job you have DEEspised for years to take a risk and open a new business. It’s the “I don’t want to die” period as you sit in the hospital after your third overdose. It’s the “I’m better than this” mental switch when you decide to divorce your chronically abusive spouse.

That kind of change is what Gladwell refers to as the Tipping Point.

If you want to radically change your life and live in freedom, a radical positive change must occur.

Tipping Point 2: Take Advantage of the Tipping Point

“The Tipping Point is a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than a possibility.” —Malcolm Gladwell

Once you have that moment, you are unstoppable if you take that momentum and run with it. Like Gladwell stated, “radical change is more than a possibility.” This may be stating the obvious, but once you decide to take the risk to leave your abusive spouse, you must go through with it to regain control of your life. It takes courage to make this leap, but think about this:

Where would India be if Gandhi had simply said, “I agree. India deserves better,” and, like most others, leave it at that without acting upon that belief? Instead, he acted on that belief and led the people of India to earn its independence from Britain.

It isn’t enough to have an “aha” moment. Once you have that tipping point, you must turn it into action and make it sustainable. How do you take your momentary growth and turn it into epidemic change? How do you keep the momentum rolling to truly transform your life–to work a career that gives you purpose, to find true love, to find lifelong sobriety, to make a life-altering body transformation, or to actually leave your abusive spouse?

For radical change to occur, you must take advantage of the tipping point, and turn it into action.

Tipping Point 3: Surround Yourself With Good People

Gladwell suggests that epidemic change is caused by three major elements, which he titles, “The Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.” Discover the place where all three components overlap, and you will find transformation.

Every success story has one major ingredient: social support. Gladwell refers to this as the 80/20 Principle. In business, he states that 80 percent of growth will be done by 20 percent of the participants. This also works for life. Twenty percent of the people in your life will bring you 80 percent of the joy. Put another way, you are the average of the five people you associate with the most.

What does this mean for you?

You have had a tipping point, and now you are taking action. The first step is to figure out where you want to go and who will guide you there. Surround yourself by those people. Your transformative success is determined by a few select people in your life: you and the people with whom you surround yourself.

Take a look at your friends and family and ask yourself, “Which 20 percent of my friends cause 80 percent of my joy?” Then, “Which 20 percent of my friends cause 80 percent of my depression, anger, or self-doubt?” Spend more time with those who support you, and decrease your time spent with those who doubt you.

Surround yourself with good people who will help you.

Tipping Point 4: Make Your “Why” Sticky.

When you reach that point of change, you have to carry that momentum throughout your journey. In my human performance business, Delta Performance, the most successful athletes are the ones who know and constantly remind themselves why they are working so hard to transform their lives. They make their reason to change sticky.

Are you serious about leaving your abusive spouse? Why? This seems like an easy response, but it’s not. Do you fear for your life? What about the life of your kids? Dig deep and figure out your motivation. Change is hard, and it’s scary. Your reason must be so important to you that failure is not an option. It takes courage to make positive change, and knowing your real “why” will help you when times are difficult–and there will be difficult times.

Once you constitute your true motive–one that is so strong, you have no choice but to succeed– you can start creating your plan of action to lead to that success. Continuously remind yourself why you are making this change.

Tipping Point 5: Create an Environment That Reflects Your Goal

“We are powerfully influenced by our surroundings, our immediate context, and the personalities of those around us.” –Malcolm Gladwell

If you want to bring about change, you need to create a mindset and community around them, where those beliefs and behaviors could be practiced, expressed, and nurtured.

From the 80/20 Principle, you already know who you must surround yourself with; this is the time for you to confide in them and ask for their guidance. Tell them what you are doing.  Ask them to hold you accountable to your actions.

In addition to your social support, you must instill the mindset for this change to occur. The moment you begin to look back and question your “why” is the moment you fail. Remember, you must, with conviction, believe in your reason, so failure is not an option. Your every thought and every action is surrounded by this change. Look at yourself in the mirror every single day, and tell yourself over and over again that you will succeed, and you will. You have no other option.

Make your environment work around your goal.

You can do it, and if you keep these tips in mind, you will succeed.

Do not be afraid of change. You may lose something good, but you will gain something better.

Recap: 5 Tips to Leaving an Abusive Spouse

  1. Create a Tipping Point
  2. Take Advantage of this tipping point
  3. Surround Yourself with Good, Supportive People
  4. Make your “Why” Stick
  5. Create an Environment That Reflects Your Goal

If you are at your tipping point and are not quite sure how to proceed: contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1−800−787−3224 or visit

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