Is the title strange? It might be, to many of you but it has the power to change the direction of your life in the blink of an eye. It gives solutions to problems, directions to the lost one and reason to love someone.
The word ‘paradigm’ was originally a scientific term but it is more commonly used to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption or scientifically, frame of reference. The term ‘paradigm shift’ was introduced by Thomas Kuhn in his highly influential landmark book, ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’. It is the way we “see” the world, not in terms of our visual sense of sight, but in terms of understanding, interpreting.
Have you ever wondered why people argue with each other? What fuels the argument? It’s the paradigm, the point of view of that person which differs from the other that leads to argument. Take a ball and hold it in front of your eye. Your friend standing before you will quickly say, “Let’s play with it!”
“Nah! We can’t play with it.”
“Because, you silly, the ball is torn from one side. It’s useless.”
This is not an example of an argument but it explains the paradigm shift quite effectively. An argument is like that ball. It always has a flaw, a weak point which has to be noticed by both the arguers. They are not able to see every part of the argument. Usually in such cases, the matter should be explained to a third friend who can see & understand the argument because his mind is not biased to a particular line of thought. And when the arguer realizes his mistake, he has undergone a paradigm shift.
But paradigm shift is not just about solving problems. It can give you direction to a totally new thing. Here’s a mini-paradigm shift that Stephen Covey tells in one of his books:
I was on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly – some reading newspapers, some lost in thought. It was a calm, peaceful scene.
Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.
The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.
It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So, finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”
The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.
Paradigm shift can occur instantly or it may gradually develop over period of time. But whatever it may be, it shows us a totally new world to see. These paradigms are the sources of our attitudes and behaviors. And that leads us to an interesting point which we college going guys and gals would prefer rather than anything else! One of the reasons of falling in love is attributed to paradigm shift. Though, of course, it’s a different thing that they are blind not to realize it! It’s the faith in and understanding your other half better than yourself that ignites love. The situations that are experienced during a paradigm shift are rarely forgotten. When you undergo a paradigm shift about your other half, you will never forget it for your lifetime. They help in removing ‘misunderstandings’, an evil to love.
So, always watch your paradigms. They are the builders of your personality. And more the paradigm shifts you go through, the more you will rise in love and life.