Tarzan swings through the jugle, using vines and large tree limbs as components of a rapid transportation system. Have you ever thought about the cognitive exercises Tarzan had to master to make this work? Ever thought about lessons you could learn from this fictional story? Probably not!
Consider the cognitive exercises Tarzan had to master!
- Tarzan had to memorize an accurate map of the jungle. He needed to know where he was at all times and precisely where each vine and tree limb was positioned relative to his location and where he wanted to go.
- He had to know the structural dependability of the vines and the limbs. He had to know, for example, that a vine was not going to break under his weight.
- Obviously, he had to have a predetermined destination and know precisely which combination of vines and limbs would get him there.
This method of rapid transportation also required a skill similar to paradigm shifting. You shift your paradigm when a particular mindset has served you as well and as long as it could. For example, Tarzan understood that a specific vine would only carry him as far as it was long. At the end of that ride, Tarzan had to have a new vine or a limb available. Whichever the case, he had to completely release the vine that, as effective as it had been, would now become a barrier to forward progress if he did not completely release it. The same principle applies to paradigms. When a specific way of thinking, of seeing and valuing the world completes its service to you, you must fully release it, while simultaneoughly reaching for the new paradigm to continue your progress.
Therefore, shifting a paradigm means to release the now ineffective “old” for the more effective “new, whether it’s an idea, a method, a strategy or a technique.
You must invest time, talent, experiences, skills and time into a paradigm for it to serve you effectively. Therefore, if you continue investing talent, experiences, skills and time in a paradigm or mindset that has lost its effectiveness, you will eventually bankrupt yourself and fall helplessly into a rut of your own making.
When you shift from an old, ineffective paradigm, to a new, effective one, you see, think and behave differently. You develop new habits, often far different from the habits you developed in the old mindset. Additionally, you expand and deepen your character development, as well.
Therefore, it’s important to learn how to decisively and swiftly shift paradigms. This ability determines both the pace and the direction of your progress in life. Remember, there’s only one eternally permanent paradigm. All of the others are seasonal in their presence and impact on your life.
Here’s one way to state the one eternally permanent paradigm in all existence: “Powerful principles propel progress through all existence. When a person moves in alignment with those principles the person receives bountiful benefits. Similarly when a person moves contrary to those principles, the person breaks himself or herself against them.
So how does a person learn to swiftly and decisively shift paradigms when this action becomes one of life’s most necessary undertakings? I suggest the following “learning strategies.”
1. Always expect what you know, no matter how effective it is today, to expand in the future.
2. Never become so comfortable in a specific mindset to the point that you would feel uncomfortable in a new way of thinking.
3. Life is a race, not a place. Therefore, never hunker down in any paradigm. Paradigm comfort leads to paradigm blindness, which eventually becomes paradigm paralysis.
4. Eagerly expect and embrace change.
5. Become willing to shift some paradigms at the peak of their effectiveness, because sometimes ineffectiveness appears as a percipitous plunge, not a slow slide.
6. When shifting a paradigm, never look back longingly as the old mindset. Remember Lot’s wife.
7. Curb your exultation over your new paradigm with the reality-check realization that it too will become ineffective.
Learn and practice these principles and you will develop the skill of decisively and swiftly shifing paradigms that no longer work effectively,