Paradigms: The Way We View The World

6 03 2009

What are paradigms?

The way we view the world is our Paradigm. It is a multitude of habits and thoughts, accumulated over many years, that make up the controlling force that has taken us to where we are today. I have a word picture I use with my students: I use a picture of a map. I tell my students that the way they view any situation is a paradigm or a map. I also say that we have hundreds, maybe even thousands of maps, or paradigms, that drive us and our behaviors. Some of these paradigms are positive and some of these are extremely destructive forces in our lives. When we get into the subject of personal development and goal setting and success mapping, the term paradigm is absolutely essential to understand.  One of the reasons we need a clear understanding of the term paradigm and how it applies in our life is, if we want to make some changes to get where we want to go, we will probably need to change our map, or our paradigm. Very often the place we are today is a result of following the map/paradigm that is built into our subconscious and we wonder why we cannot ever catch a break. It is because we are unknowingly self-sabotaging ourselves. The map we are following was written improperly – and almost always by the influences of others and the environments we are exposed to. This may be where the term guilty by our associations come from. Paradigm paralysis is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when setting goals and attempting to change our map.

Paradigm paralysis is the perceived inability to change our circumstances. We build an image of how we want life to be and then we look at our current situation and it doesn’t gel with our desire. At once our subconscious mind kicks it out – it’s foreign, it doesn’t belong. Paradigm Paralysis is the inability to see beyond our current model of thinking. We continue to do what we don’t want to do and get the results we don’t want to get. Remember, our paradigm has to do with how we perceive the world. When new ideas or dreams for our lives fall outside of our current paradigm, they are difficult to accept as a possible reality. Sometimes these ideas or desires are so radical, (like creating generational wealth) that we think to ourselves they would be impossible, resulting in paradigm paralysis.  As we learn how to identify paradigms in life and how paradigms change, we can move into paradigm shifting to start achieving the results we really desire instead of results we simply settle for.

An example of this is when I was trying to quit smoking, for the 70th time. I really wanted to quit. I tried and tried and tried – unsuccessfully. I knew the next time I tried again it would be a useless effort but, nonetheless, I tried anyhow. The problem was, I still viewed myself as a smoker. My paradigm, the way I viewed myself, told me I was a smoker and my thoughts and behaviors reflected this. Whenever I tried to quit smoking, that action (or lack of action, in this case) was going against the picture I held of myself. I couldn’t even see myself as lasting more than a few days or weeks without the habit. I had paradigm paralysis.

How do you shift your paradigm?

A paradigm shift is a change in the way one views things. If it is your desire to climb Mount Everest, you must hold the view of yourself as a mountain climber in your mind. Build the picture of the person you want to be and don’t focus on the present results. You can change your paradigm of yourself, your self-image, by changing your focus.

climbers close to 3rd step on Everest
Image by exposedplanet via Flickr

If  your focus is on the current behaviors, you will continue to do the same things that keep you where you are in life. If you continually hold the picture of the person you would like to become in your mind, your behaviors will begin to change and move you in the desired direction.  Remember, a paradigm is a set of rules and regulations. This set of rules and regulations does two things: it establishes and defines boundaries, and it tells you how to behave inside those boundaries to be successful. If you want a different future and you know a paradigm shift is required, you must build the picture the prize – of that future –  in your minds and believe it in your heart and then build specific behaviors to fit that picture.  Get specific and detailed. Start acting as if you have already achieved the prize and let your behaviors reflect that. Let the way you view the world reflect the way you want it to be not the way it has always been.

The way I finally quit smoking cigarettes is I had to change the view of myself. I had to change my paradigm. I had to hold the view of the new me as a non-smoker. I also built a picture of a happy non-smoker, not one of those grumpy ex smokers. I pictured myself in as much detail as possible, as being free from the habit and continually held this thought in my mind. Soon my actions of a smoker wasn’t matching the picture in my mind and the behavior and belief started to change as well. It wasn’t very long till I changed. When I set the date and finally kicked the habit it was easier. I believed myself to be a non smoker and my new habits reflected that. My paradigm shifted.

As Joel Barker says, “Vision without action is just dreaming. Action without vision is just passing the time. Vision with action can change the world”. The way we view the world is determined by our paradigms. Our paradigms can be forces for positive results and sometimes they can be extremely destructive. We can become anything we want to be, make any vision a reality through shifting our paradigms.

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Learn by Design Rather than by Default

28 02 2009

Never read a book again?

I remember when I graduated High School my friends and I sat around the keg and decided we would never read a book again.

Fast forward twenty years or so. I woke up one morning to the realization that I was no farther ahead in life than the day I got out of school. All of my education up to that point was by default, by hard knocks and the consequences of stupidity. My refusal to learn by picking up another book had created a broken philosophy within me that left me without much of a future or any hope for prosperity.

A friend of mine introduced me to a book that changed my paradigm. That book opened up the possibility of a whole new world, the potential for a new future. The book is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Reading it started me on a journey that has radically shifted the direction of my life. Since reading it, I have been on a quest to learn and grow by design rather than by default. The new ideas and knowledge I discovered from reading Kiyosaki’s book were the beginning of my desire for personal development. I have since fallen in love with with the idea of helping others achieve the freedom in their lives that so many of us desperately crave.

Today I am off to the library to check out another book. As I was writing down the title of the book and the author’s name, the thought popped up, “I will never find the time to read this.” In approximately 5 seconds there were at least another dozen excuses for not reading it running through the movie screen of my mind – none of them in my best interest.

In order for me to win the war that is constantly being waged within myself, I must continually hold the picture of the prize in my mind. The end goal, the freedom we desire but aren’t willing to fight for is the prize. I fight a daily war between mediocre efforts and outstanding efforts. The effort that wins the daily battle is the one who wins in the end. But that topic is for another post.

I was told by a mentor of mine  that most CEO’s we hear about in the news, read an average of 4 books a month. This isn’t a habit these CEO’s picked up after becoming a big wig. On the contrary, reading a book a week is a habit that gave them the knowledge and skill to become successful. This is a habit that is practiced by the majority of people who have achieved any kind of big success. This same mentor also said that successful people have large librarys and people living payday to payday have large TV’s. I recieved that message loud and clear! That was a picture of me: no library and a big screen TV.

Today I do not live payday to payday. Today I strive to learn by design not by default. I don’t want an employer telling me when to show up, and when to leave. I don’t want him to tell me how much he is going to pay me or when I can eat my lunch. I want Freedom!

If you truly want  freedom, choose to learn by design and not by default. The last three businesses I have started came by way of my desire to learn a new skill. I went to the library as well as purchased the books necessary to learn that skill or trade.

After learning specialized knowledge comes application, however, I will save that for another post as well.

Today I have committed to be a life-long learner. Another mentor of mine, Vic Johnson, says, “those students that are willing to learn before the lesson have entered into the creative plane as opposed to the competitive.”

Never read a book again? I think not!

Follow the Trail

Follow the Trail

Others have done the hard part for us by blazing the trail to freedom. There are tomes of information available to us. If we follow the trail daily, we are learning by design rather than by default. Living and learning by design requires purposeful action. The trail that is your life will be less difficult and the reward will be freedom.

I look forward to your feedback!

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