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Ionization energy

The world and the Universe is made up of many kinds of interesting molecules.

Water is one such molecule. Each molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom that are bonded together. And when you have a sizable quantity of liquid water, each of these molecules then are attracted to other similar molecules keeping them in the liquid state.

When you heat this liquid, it stays the same until you reach a certain temperature, when it begins to transform into a gas. You can continue increasing the energy you supply to it from this point on, but you will not see a change to the molecules themselves, but just an expansion in the gas where these molecules move farther away from each other.

But when you reach a threshold, the energy is enough to split the molecules into individual hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Now, if you take one of these oxygen atoms, it has a nucleus with protons and neutrons and electrons. The energy you need to supply in order to strip one electron from this atom is called the ionization energy.

You can further increase the energy you apply and fuse two such nuclei to form a new atom altogether (this only happens naturally in stars).

The reason I told you all of this is simply to make the point that the energy needed to change the state of a molecule or an atom is a step function and not a continuous function. As you keep increasing the energy you apply to the molecule or the atom, you will not see a continuous change, but once you breach a threshold, you will immediately see a transformation.

This is more or less how we operate as well.

You can keep reading about the advantages of eating healthy and see friends around you do it, but not do it yourself. Not that all these aren't having an effect on you. Just that you need a little more than that for you to cross your threshold and make the change.

For a while, it feels like nothing is happening. And then, all of a sudden, there is a flip. Just like that.

And that is how change happens. 

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