I’m not sure if this is just me, but I love applying old concepts to new ideas. In an effort to make these blogs more concise, let me get right to the point. This blog is about a crime concept that applies to you and me on a deep level. Let’s jump in.


Broken Windows Theory

I first read about the broken windows theory in a Malcolm Gladwell book – The Tipping Point, a book all about how the smallest things can often make the biggest difference. In simple terns, this criminological concept asserts that visible signs of crime promote further crime. In other words, broken windows send a message to potential criminals that the community is vulnerable – that the people don’t care about crime or don’t have the means to stop it. In a long term view, the broken windows theory suggests that without intervention, broken windows can create a downward spiral that has the potential to result in big changes and serious consequences.

How It Applied Then

When I first read about the broken windows theory (10 years ago), I was at a time in life where I thought about things on the surface. For that reason (and for good reason) this concept made me want to be a better citizen – I was more vigilant and outgoing when it came to picking up trash, putting back shopping carts and doing anything that I could to leave every physical place better than I found it. This theory made me a better person on the surface but didn’t touch me at my core. Like most things, this concept faded in my mind with time and it wasn’t until this past week that I was reminded of broken windows while listen to one of the best podcast episodes that I’ve ver heard…

How It Applies Now (to you)

I’m at a point in life marked with introspection – I can’t go 10 minutes without looking at life through a deep, philosophical lens and I love it. With that being said, the resurfacing of the broken windows theory took me down a different thought path than 10 years ago. When I think of broken windows now, I agree that we should strive to leave every place better than we found it however, I think of the broken windows within. Behind closed doors and between our ears, we all have negotiations without ourselves between the right thing to do and the easiest thing to do. If we’re being honest, we all have habits that serve as proverbial broken windows in our lives – subconsciously signaling to ourselves that it’s acceptable to choose convenience and comfort over challenge and growth.

Here’s what I’m suggesting of me (and of you) – we all have broken windows in our lives (our thoughts, habits, actions, environments, relationships, etc.) and we have to decided what we’re going to tolerate because in the end, we become what we tolerate. If we’re not careful, those broken windows will shape us into a person that we don’t recognize and don’t love – it’s a slippery slope but one you can avoid by making the next right decision.


I could write a book about topics like this but for your sake, I’ll wrap it up here. Before you close this blog and return to life as usual, take a second to not only read the quote below, but to feel it at your core. Choose to embrace what it means and envision how it (and this blog) can change your life going forward. Pursue your full potential and…

Big doors swing on little hinges.

W. Clement Stone

… Fix those windows.

Joe Rinaldi

IG: @joearinaldi

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