In this article we discuss how to get better results by changing your paradigm
In a recent article we mentioned paradigms as a reason for the knowing-doing gap.
With this article, paradigms also play a role, but this time to help you get you what you want.
To refresh your memory, the definition of a paradigm is
“A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them…” (American Heritage Dictionary)
We all grow up into a world of ‘logic’ - basically meaning a way of reasoning about certain things.
For instance, the prevailing paradigm at one time was that the world was flat.
That view was understandable because if you look towards the horizon, particularly if you are on a plain, it does look largely flat.
Until then, thinking that the world was round (or anything but flat) was considered illogical.
It took the circumnavigation of the globe by Magellan to break that paradigm and replace it with a new one.
Strangely enough there are still individuals and groups today that consider the earth to be flat!
How did we acquire these paradigms?
When we are very young, until about the age of 6, our mind is very malleable as the brain has not completed its full development.
We accept just about everything that is presented to us as being true.
By the age of six, the brain is now properly developed and we start to develop our reasoning faculties.
However a lot of the basic paradigms acquired until then stick around and are basically automatic.
This applies to our beliefs, our values and subsequently our behaviour.
Some of these paradigms are beneficial and life preserving.
But others are often superfluous and interfere with any new idea that may come along. They resist change.
In essence, our paradigms produce our behaviour, and that behaviour leads to our results.
Save to say if we want different results we need to adopt a different paradigm.
How we can change our paradigm?
In general, there are only two ways that a paradigm can be changed.
The first is a ‘shock and awe’ approach - for instance the events of 9/11.
These events don’t happen very often and can be traumatic, but they invariably produce a radical change in the paradigm.
They’re also quite costly from the point of human sanity and mental well-being.
The preferred way of changing your paradigms is through the process of repetition.
Please note that in learning, repetition will help you remember a book or a formula, but that alone won’t help you understand the formula or the contents of the book, unless you think about what is written.
As a kid I remember having to learn my ‘times tables’ by rote.
However it wasn’t until I was at least a teenager and my powers of reasoning were more advanced, that I appreciated the meaning of the work we did as 5 or 6 year-olds.
However, repeated exposure to an idea, combined with thinking about that idea, will help you understand it better. Indeed, the more you do so the greater the insights you get will become.
Here is a 5 step process to change your paradigm:
- Write down a description of the results that you are getting on a sheet of paper.
- Write down a description of the results that you want to get, in the present tense.
- This is important because you want to feel that the results are happening now, not in the future.
For example, if you are in sales, write down how you’re currently doing in sales.
For instance how many clients you have and how much you are making in commission.
Next you write out how many clients and sales you want to have (in the present tense).
For instance you can phrase it this way: "I’m so happy and grateful that sales and commissions come to me easily and I currently have xxx sales and yyy in commissions.”
Naturally adapt this to whatever occupation you are in.
- Next you need to take the paper with the undesired results and burn it!
Burning this is symbolic of the fact that you are rid of it and it has gone forever.
Of course, exercise due fire safety protocols (LOL!)
- What do you do with the second sheet? Again, the idea of repetition comes to the fore.
You should read it multiple times a day, and also write it our frequently each day.
If you can record it, place it on your phone and listen to it frequently each day. Create a reminder on your phone that pops up every hour.
Over time the new paradigm will replace the old one by the process of repeated exposure.
If the new paradigm is what you truly want, this will largely be an automatic process.
For best results, only work on one or two things at a time.
Gradual and repeated exposure to a new paradigm that is superior to the old one will allow for a gradual adjustment to the new ideas.
All the above can be applied to a group of individuals or a company.
In the latter case, the paradigm is often referred to as the corporate culture.
Each company has a certain way of looking at the world and relating back to it.
Those who do well in the company are those who are able to adapt to the corporate paradigm.
On the other hand, those who don’t do well in the company are those who can’t adapt to the company paradigms.
The forward looking companies are those whose paradigm is adaptable to its market position, as well as to the individual needs of its workers.
This is done by periodically getting its personnel together to brainstorm (mastermind) ways that the company can better serve the market.
So are you willing to change your paradigm to get the results you want?
The principles are easy when you think about it!