Threshold Patterns

Threshold Patterns

Two common threshold patterns are The Compulsion Blowout Technique and The Last Straw Technique. In a way, they are the opposite of each other. With the compulsion blowout, you are accumulating positive feeling until it is unsustainable. With the last straw, you are accumulating negative experiences until you have had enough.

Have you ever heard the expression “the straw that broke the camels back”? There is a point where too much of something reaches a kind of critical mass. The 2008 financial meltdown is an example of a system going over threshold. The growth was unsustainable (among other things)

We can stop things getting to that critical point, but once they are there, it can take only a small thing to put it over the edge.

Think about making gravy on the stove. You heat it up and nothing happens for a while. Then one more degree and suddenly it’s thick. You can’t change it back by cooling it down. It has reached the point of no return.

burst-balloonSome chemical and neurological changes happen after something reaches a certain point. The Convincer Mode is a good example of this. Many people become convinced (reach critical mass) after a certain amount of time or number of examples. There is a change in the system from being unconvinced to convinced. Essentially, it has become a different system. Becoming unconvinced is a different process.

Threshold happens naturally when you accumulate enough negative or positive responses. My daughter was constantly maxing out her credit card until one day things got very bad and she changed her spending habits.

This can be a useful or unuseful thing. Sometimes we want to avoid getting to a threshold, for instance to notice someone is becoming irritable with us before they ask for a divorce. Other times we want to create enough momentum to enable us to act. Many people use deadlines to motivate themselves. The report is due on Friday and the pressure builds until you are so uncomfortable you just do it. This uses an away from Motivation Direction

Of course, not all thresholds reach a point of no return. The temperature cools down to a point where I put on a jumper, when it gets warm again, I can take it off. This is how natural systems balance themselves.

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