Crossing the awareness threshold
The blockchain, game theory, float tanks, turmeric, Justin Trudeau, Joi Ito, dal fry, thermite, the Corbomite Maneuver... these are all notions (people, ideas, technologies, foods) that you may or may not be aware of or have engaged with.
There's a path:
- Have an opinion
- Have a new opinion
- Have shared that opinion and are thus locked in
It's pretty clear that most the world is unaware of you and your work.
Once someone becomes aware of it, they'll probably leave it at that. "Oh." Because we're busy. And afraid of the new, because it often causes us to change our minds, which is frightening and difficult.
But sometimes, the culture or our work gives us no choice but to engage. We begin by putting this new thing into a category, so we know what to do with it, how to store the concept. Often, that's immediately followed by forming an opinion.
It's a huge leap, then, to go from, "Yuck, they make protein bars out of crickets," to, "I am going to try one."
After an experience, it's possible for a new opinion to be formed. But we like to be right, so that first opinion often sticks around.
And finally, seven steps in, it's possible that the word will spread, that awareness will be shared, that we'll tell someone else. And so the awareness barrier is crossed again, and the idea spreads, and opinions are truly locked in.
Some of these stages happen in clumps. Sometimes they take months or years to occur. How much time passed between the day you became aware that hockey was a spectator sport and the first time you went to a game?
We benefit when we're aware of how our idea will work its way through all seven stages, and cognizant that the process is different depending on the category, the culture and the people we're engaging with. Do it on purpose.