“We need a more capacious model of love. In this model, love is not predicated on sharing each other’s world as we might share a soul. It is predicated, instead, on sharing it as we might share a story… If stories only succeed when we consent to suspend disbelief, relationships require of us something similar: the ability to let go of our own worldview long enough to be intrigued and moved by someone else’s.” -Kathryn Schulz
The Law of the Few
“The Law of the Few” was the extended metaphor that Malcom Gladwell used in his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. He used three particular archetypes to describe these “Few,” referring to them as: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. Connectors are networkers who bring people and groups together. Mavens are “information specialists” who are adept at sharing their knowledge with others. Salesmen are charismatic coaxers who are skilled at negotiating with and persuading others. The common theme of these three archetypes is the fact that they are all implementing a relationship-based approach to life.
In order to become a prolific aspect of a tipping point, we’ll need to adopt one of these three methods. This requires having and cultivating a relationship-based lifestyle as opposed to an ownership-based one. As it stands, we live in an ownership-based culture, which makes implementing a relationship-based approach all the more difficult.
In order to better see through the smoke and mirrors of the ownership-based system, ask yourself what is ownership. What does it mean to own something? If you describe ownership as the given right to control, then you have an unhealthy understanding of ownership.
If, on the other hand, you describe ownership as a responsibility, custodianship or even borrowed energy that you will one day have to give back, then you have a healthy understanding of ownership. The problem with our culture is we’ve confused ownership with the right to control and destroy. This has led to a segregated culture that believes it deserves to possess everything. And so it has become possessed.
The Domino Effect
Let us not be possessed by our possessions. Let us instead emerge as connectors, mavens, and salesmen. If we can integrate rather than segregate, by putting the right things in the right place, like connectors do, then relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other. If we can organize knowledge and connect the dots, like mavens do, then students become teachers who teach students who become teachers, creating a domino effect of knowledge.
By escaping the linear matrix of the ownership-based paradigm and discovering the interconnected matrix of the relationship-based paradigm, we remove ourselves from the dead-stare of coercion, victimization and the subliminal desire to bend others to our will, and move, instead, into the open-ended embrace of cohesion, relationship and the holistic passion of motivating and bringing people together, like salesmen do.
If, as Ken Keyes Jr. wrote, “As we grow into higher consciousness, we discover that it is more important to be the right person than to find the right person,” then it behooves each of us to become the right person. Today that means being a connector, a maven, or a salesman who practices a relationship-based lifestyle. The more of us there are being “the right person” the more “right people” there are for others to find.
The more of us there are to find, the more likely we are to reach a healthy tipping point. The less of us there are to find, the more likely we are to continue living ownership-based lives that maintain an unhealthy system that’s dead set on keeping everything against itself. But like the great Carl Sagan said, “A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.”
If we’re ever going to reach a tipping point, we’ll need a community of people whose foundation is the maintenance of relationships. We need these people to stand up, in resistance, to people whose foundation is the primacy of ownership. The cultivation of relationships is primary in order for a healthy, sustainable and happy society to emerge.