The beliefs and perspectives people hold truly “shade” their expectations. These come from the unique and varying life experiences everyone encounters, which influences the way the world is interpreted and represented in the mind. From this, paradigms develop. A paradigm is an expectation or assumption about what and how things should be done. These paradigms can help you see important details, but can also blind you from the bigger picture. Everyone has their own lens through which they view the world. Two people in the exact same situation may perceive what happened, why it happened, and how it affected them, in a completely different way. I recently encountered someone who asked me, “What makes you think you can write about personal development?” This is a good question, though is purely based on the paradigm they hold for what is possible. I provided my reasoning, but what I really wanted to do was answer with another more important question. “Who am I not to write about personal development?” Furthermore, “who are you not to write about personal development?”
Everyone has knowledge and unique personal insight to share with the world. We all have value and potential that needs to be unmasked. Though, sometimes it takes a paradigm shift to realize this truth. Looking at the world from a new lens provides a shift away from old ingrained habits and limiting expectations, and provides a chance to better ourselves and others. Here’s how to experience a paradigm shift.
Look at what works, not what’s right or wrong
There are two main ways to view things. One is what’s right vs. what’s wrong? The other is what’s working vs. what’s not working? This is valuable insight I learned from personal coaching sessions that has helped me make paradigm shifts. When we view things as right or wrong it’s easy to be judgmental and narrow in the views we hold. If something is “right” we are much less likely to change in this area, even if it causes serious distress. But, if we are able to start looking through the lens of what’s working vs. what isn’t working, we gain a much more open-minded and expansive view of what’s possible. We can start to focus on situations and circumstances as adaptable and flexible, which makes it much easier to commit to making changes. If it’s not working, why not change it? It’s not right or wrong, it just isn’t working. Start to discover what is working or not working in your life, as opposed to what is right or wrong. This can provide a paradigm shift in professional, personal, or relational domains of life.
Step outside your comfort zone
We all have a point were trying something new starts to feel unnatural. We don’t yet feel competent and obstacles keep emerging to solidify this feeling. This is the point were a paradigm shift can take place though. Stick with it and you will soon see that you can push past previous limits. When you can manage some uncomfortable feelings and uncertain situations, you will be able to push yourself to a new level. You can begin taking risks and embracing fears that before kept you restricted and rigid about what was possible. Before you start taking risks, make sure to practicing with smaller risks before moving on to major life changes. Once you feel comfortable with being uncomfortable, you can work to stretch yourself even further and start to change rigid perspectives that were holding you back.
Put on a new shade of glasses
When examining Gestalt diagrams it can be seen that there is more than one way to view an image. It depends on what stands out to the individual.
In general, people have a tendency to view things based on their past experience. We tend to notice those things which are in-tune with our expectations, interests, and beliefs. Though, as soon as we stop expecting things to happen, the world becomes much less stressful. If we’re able to see alternative viewpoints and reexamine what we expect to see or hear in a given situation, growth and change can be reached. We can start to alter how we view ourselves, others, and the world around us, in a positive direction. Think of changing you paradigm as trying on a new pair of glasses, where it colors the surroundings, and changes the focus on how you see things. Be willing to try on new glasses until your vision is clear and working for your situation.
Check your “blind spots”
Start to examine where you have blind spots causing distress in your perspective or paradigm. If things aren’t working in your relationship, try seeing things from a different angle. If things aren’t going well in your professional life, start to look at what’s happening through a different lens. By noticing your blind spots, a greater awareness and open-mindedness to different views of the world will emerge. It will enable you to develop clarity and provide an opportunity for growth in relationships. Being open-minded will lead to less disagreements and judgments toward others with opposing views. Start to look at what’s working, not what’s right or wrong, and don’t limit your expectations for what’s possible. Check for “blind spots” and examine life from a bigger picture, in order to bring your perspective into focus.