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The 3.5 Percent Principle. Are you tired of being ignored?


Do you have an opinion, about something? Do you feel like you are not being heard? Do you know how to make a difference?

Use the 3.5 percent principle.

There is an old saying, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Those are important words; if we don’t have a vision or goal, we are just wasting our time. We are going nowhere. Actually, the problem is worse than that. Without a vision, we perish. We do go somewhere; we travel backward to our own destruction.

That old saying has been with us for thousands of years, in the Proverbs of the Hebrew Bible (Proverbs 29:18)

If your life is not going somewhere, it is going somewhere else. You were born with a direction and forward motion.

On the other side, what is the point of believing anything? Check the news feed on your phone. How many opinions do you see? How many of those ideas were not popular, a few years ago?

We are flooded with opinions and radical ideas, and new moral standards. For example, I clearly remember people arguing about COVID restrictions, for and against them. People wore masks in stores, and a few radicals refused to mask up. That started a few arguments.

So, what matters to you?

Can you convince anyone else to believe with you? Are you making a difference? Are you tired of being ignored?

Protest movements, around the world, are learning about the 3.5 percent principle. The author of this principle is an American scholar, Erica Chenoweth.

She presented her ideas in a TEDx talk. The video is more than ten minutes long, but for your reference, here is a link:

If you want to read about the ideas:

A large part of our news about protest movements is powered by the 3.5 percent principle. If 3.5 percent of the population is strongly convinced about something, they will influence the other 96.5 percent.

In a town of one thousand people, a small group of 35 people can influence the whole population. I have lived in a small town, and I have seen this in action. In those days, in that place, the small group was probably a church, or the Knights of Columbus, or Alcoholics Anonymous, or a chapter of a labor union, but each small group had a large influence.

Now, in our big cities, more radical groups are promoting their agendas. That is the source of Cancel Culture. We have a flood of forceful and radical ideas, and it seems like the world is changing around us. Things are changing, but most protest movements are 3.5 percent groups.

There are many voices shouting into megaphones, out there.

Now, back to you, and me.

What is your vision? In what way do you want to succeed, in this noisy world? I once had a partner, in a one-day training course, and he had a radical idea. He wanted everyone, everywhere, to stop drinking cow’s milk. Seriously. I did not join the movement, and I don’t think he reached the 3.5 percent threshold.

For me, that was a long day.

Someone else talked about the principle, two thousand years ago. We were told, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). Those are words from Jesus, and he was speaking to his followers. He didn’t give a percentage, but he told them they would influence everyone around them. They didn’t have to work up a social influence with some internal effort; they were already the salt of the Earth. He added these words, “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are.

So, what are we inside? Who are we, really? What is the vision?

We should all be warned; that internal vision is the influence that we will spread in this world, including to younger generations. It is a sobering thought that only 3.5 percent can change the world.

Are we ready for the world to be just like us?

That thought scares me sometimes.

The real question is, with our direction and forward motion, where are we leading others?

We need to check the vision, and here is a starting point:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4: 7 and 8)

There is much more, but the correct vision needs to start. I hope we can all find that, as we spread our influence, our salt, from our small corners.

Some people already have that vision:

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