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Dancing and Inspiring Critical Mass

Find the tipping point in this spontaneous dance party at the 2009 Sasquatch! Music Festival (watch the video).

Gladwell (the author of The Tipping Point) is right:  little things can make a big difference. Who inspired this dance party?  Most people will credit the first guy dancing (the guy without the shirt). However, if it weren’t for the 2nd and 3rd guys, the small group of five people would not have joined in. And the small group is what inspired the huge group of people to get up and dance. This is a wonderful example of critical mass – a threshold in social behavior that triggers a larger event or a new action.  This video reveals fantastic insights into inspiration and what it takes to inspire others into action.  Brands and ad campaigns seek to inspire critical mass. Most fall short.

A few takeaways from this video:

– Everyone is a leader if he/she leads.

– Don’t try to change everyone. Change a few and everyone will follow.

– Be uncool. Cool dudes aren’t cool; they’re fearful. They limit themselves and those around them. The first 20 dancers weren’t trying to be cool; they didn’t fear being singled out. In fact, they sought the attention of being different. And the last 20 dancers joined the crowd because they were following the lead of the mass.

– Live passionately.

– If you see a good thing going on, join in.

– Allow change to take over.

– Don’t be afraid to dance your face off even if you “can’t dance.”

– Enjoy!

By the way, the song is “Unstoppable” by Santigold.


2 Responses

  1. Great post. Very thought provoking.

  2. Another take on this video…A lot of people trying to start a movement (like sustainable building practices like I support) tend to think of themselves as the first guy in the video. They view their job as one in which they dance alone for ages hoping for someone to come join THEM and THEIR movement. Sometimes the best thing to do is to be the second or third guy instead. Look for someone doing something you support and JOIN THEM. You could be the ones who create the critical mass to kick off a whole movement.

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