The Broken Window Concept says that the most tiny but visible part of your personality can be most effective improvement tool if you show that you care .In other words the God is in the details .

This concept has come up from the neighborhoods of Chicago . In a house , a small broken window that does not get mended in considerable time represents the apathy of the house owner or it shows the absence of people who care . Th e passers byes take it for granted to be broken . In course of time they even stop taking note of it . But a deep seated mental note is made that nobody cares .

This works as a signal for petty thieves to take away things , for birds to make their nests ,for pests to enter and so on and so forth and in some time the whole structure deteriorates . The broken window that remained broken started it all .

The corollary is that , if we just keep on mending the broken window , the
other things will automatically take care of themselves .

In the 1970 the Chicago underground trains had become the den for miscreants It was considered by and large to for the lay public after certain day hours. Mugging , chain snatching , petty thievery , gangsterism , drug trafficking galore once the night set in . The trains were smeared inside
out with obscene graffiti .

The Chief of the railways wanted to get it all straight . Do you know what
they started with ? The graffiti . They had only one objective , come what
may , a train having graffiti will not leave the main terminal . They had
gangs of inspectors to spot graffiti and cleaned it all up before the train
would leave the main terminal . Some miscreants would come at night to write
graffiti when the train is in the yards . Early morning inspectors would
clean up the graffiti . No graffiti would see the light of the day . Slowly
things started improving . People began to take notice . Apathy started fading away . People began to take care . People began to object to miscreants writing graffiti in trains .Others took active interest in keeping the trains and train stations and the urinals clean . People began to notice stolen tube lights . Dark corners were promptly reported to authorities . Number of available dark places and dark corners reduced . Trains began to run on schedule . Bootlegging , drug trafficking reduced considerably . In six years time , the whole underground underwent complete
transformation. That is the power of broken window .( This example is taken from the book "The Tipping Point" )

The authorities sent a visible signal that they CARED. They did not initiate punitive measures in the initial stages . That would have raised public hue and cry given the state of the mass rail transit scheme . They looked at cleaning up their own act first . They started at the smallest and most neglected area and worked at it . As it began to make difference , keeping their focus there they moved to other areas . When people began to notice that somebody cares , they too began to care . They too began to take active interest in the welfare without being asked about it .

The concept in simple words says that find the tiniest , most neglected ,but visible area of your personality and keep working on it and everything else will fall into place on its own.

Many time we are overwhelmed with the number and volume of tasks . Just choose one task and keep doing it over and over and over again and again and
everything else will take care of itself .

Can we now apply this concept to our persona for self improvement ? Yes we can . How ? Please read on .

The broken window represents apathy, hopelessness, I cannot make any difference type of thinking . The broken window leads to wishful thinking which then is fulfilled . The structure deteriorates and fades away .

Let us take a actual example . Have you been faced with any task that seems too big for you ? Like keeping your room clean , neat and tidy . The room is always such a mess and somehow whenever you want to clean it up something more pressing comes up and the mess remains as it is . Or you are inundated with so many tasks at one time that you take out various articles to complete the tasks and in no time the room goes back to the mess it once was . The cupboard is full of clothes , spilling over and out , the bed is unmade , the pillow cover is dirty , there is lot of garbage around , other cosmetic articles are not arranged properly , the mirror is broken so on and so forth . Just pick up one task . Just the pillow cover . Get a brand new pillow . Throw out the old one. Get three pillow covers for the new pillow , all in bright colours . Change cover every night before sleeping . Feel the warmth of the new pillow , enjoy the smell , press and see the softness and support it offers . Do everything to keep the pillow clean , neat and tidy , fresh and nice smelling . Do this for one month and then look at your room . The room will have a changed appearance !

Take care of the Broken Window !

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Anand K. Ghurye is a Mumbai based Holistic Management consultant and Growth and Development trainer. Simplifying work , enriching life and energising relationships are his major focus areas . He hosts group programs and also takes part in individual counselling . He is associated with Network of Well Being , an organization dedicated to enriching life through self observation and self awareness and Vishnugupta Pratishthan , an association for Responsibility Economics . He hosts a mailing list dealing with Work Simplification and Growth and Development issues.