Several years ago, Bob was flying high, his career was taking off, his company booming, requiring him to travel lots, working late, wining and dining with clients, stressful deadlines to meet, and many accounts to juggle. He was earning good money, had a loving wife, two kids and was able to support his family in a very comfortable lifestyle. Suddenly one Wednesday afternoon he collapsed with severe chest pain, was rushed to the hospital, and diagnosed with severe heart disease. His family rushed to his bedside, fearing the worst. The surgeon and doctors were meeting with Bob to discuss his options, “You have been lucky” the doctor stated, “ but take this as a warning, to give yourself the best chance of recovery you need to make a paradigm shift in your life”. Bob like many of us had never heard the term ‘paradigm shift” before and didn’t know what it meant. What is a paradigm shift anyway, he thought, what does it mean? “You need to make drastic changes to your habits, lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress levels” the doctor replied. This started Bob on his journey to create his paradigm shift.
The word paradigm comes from the Greek language and means pattern, examples, or a sample of how things are normally done. So your paradigm can be translated as the way you always do things, your habits, and subconscious actions or thought. So the term “paradigm shift” means to radically change, or turnaround those patterns of behavior, this may be a change of direction of life or in the way you think about things, that is usually drastic or sudden. You might be wondering what is a paradigm shift in life? We will cover some real-life examples later on, but basically it is when you decide you want to make a significant change in the direction of a certain area of your life.
To create a paradigm shift you must first take a close look at a particular trait, thought pattern or behavior that you want to change. Then clearly define what you would prefer to think, do or have instead. Then take deliberate, conscious, and consistent actions to ensure the new actions become the new pattern, habit, and paradigm for you.
Now that you have a better understanding of what it is, let’s explore questions such as why is paradigm shift important and what makes paradigm shift psychology so exciting and beneficial.
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There are times when paradigm shifts happen without any real effort from us, life changes such as leaving school and starting work, health issues, getting married or moving in with a partner, or change of career, these force us to change our habits and patterns to adjust to new life situations. But it is also possible to create a paradigm shift by choice for something we wish to change in life and this is important in achieving new goals and ambitions. It is very likely you will need a paradigm shift in your thinking or habits to make the necessary changes to achieve your life ambitions. That’s what makes a paradigm shift so important as a shortcut towards achieving your goals. Without that kind of drastic change, it might take a lot longer to achieve.
It also requires a lot of mental effort and determination to create a paradigm shift in any area, and that takes the right mindset and an understanding of your own psychology, you need to be able to recognize what beliefs you hold that need to change in order to make a paradigm shift reality. Knowing and understanding yourself to this level opens up a whole new world of exciting possibilities. Paradigm shifts help us take quantum leaps towards future potential. Even more exciting is the fact once you’ve done it once and know you can do it, the next paradigm shift and leap forward is much easier.
Let’s look at some paradigm shift examples in life, it may be possible you have already experienced your own paradigm shift without even realizing it as such.
In a previous stage of my life, I had just gone through a stressful separation from my partner, I was living alone, struggling to afford rent, and not living a healthy life. I had been feeling very sorry for myself, blaming everything else for my unfortunate situation, slowly feeling worse and worse. I hated everything. Then one day after a particularly bad night, I suddenly decided if I did not like my situation there was nobody else here to change that except myself. My misery was self-perpetuating the problems. So I made a list of how I wanted my life to be, describing the job I wanted, the body I wanted, how I wanted to feel. Then I got books from the library to study and built a healthy eating plan. I put my exercise clothes by my bed and set my alarm to get up early enough to exercise before work. I made a commitment to myself to not allow any excuses and that I would follow through with my newfound lifestyle plan. Many people make changes in their lives, but what really defines it as a paradigm shift, is when you alter the very pattern and habits of your everyday life, a complete transformation. It requires conscious effort to radically change habits and change your thoughts and then to keep following these new actions until they become your new normal. A complete paradigm shift in several areas of life at once. Here and now 60lbs lighter, running half marathons, have a successful business and happy social life. A true paradigm shift.
I hope this has inspired you to think about your paradigms and how you could change things for the better. It doesn’t have to be so drastic or happen all at once. There are four key steps to making it work with whatever the change you wish to make… in your personal, professional, or any area of life.
Step One - Decide what you want
This is the fun part, get creative, using whatever method makes you feel happy. Use a pen and paper, mind mapping, images from Pinterest, start creating a picture of the perfect situation. This can be a feeling you want to have, a new body image, a new job or a health goal. Write it down, record as much detail as you can about what you want your reality to be.
If it’s hard to even get to this point of thinking about what you want, then another approach can be to think about what you don’t want. Then write down the opposite of that. We will use a specific example: perhaps you would like to change your financial situation, at this moment you hate the fact you never have any money left at the end of each month. So the opposite of that would be I want to have money at the end of the month. OK, then how much money do you want to have left? That becomes the first step to get very clear and specific in what you want.
Step Two - Define what you need to believe in order to achieve what you want
This step is a little harder than the first one. Think about having what you want and what you would have to have in order to believe for that to happen. Again, it might be easier to think about what you currently believe and create an opposite belief to that. Let’s stick with the money example. Maybe right now you believe you are very bad at managing money. (that’s why you have none left each month) Or you believe you just can’t manage the money you currently earn. So a new belief you could adopt would be: “I am perfectly capable of managing my money” and “I have enough money for everything I need.” When any negative thoughts about money get summoned up, replace it with this new belief… and soon enough you’ll start acting in ways that will support this self-affirmation.
Step Three - Gather evidence to support your new beliefs
This step is the real power behind this technique. Generally, everyone likes to be right – Right? We all look for the proof of things we believe. Ever caught yourself saying “I told you so” to a friend, it feels good because something we thought was true… happened. So in this step, you must collect any and all examples you can to back up and put weight behind your new beliefs. “I have enough money for everything I need.” You could think about the fact you have enough money for food each month, you can pay the rent? Start recording all the reasons you can to show you do in fact have enough money. Count the number of months you’ve had enough money, even if it’s only one, it still proves it can be true.
However small they may be or inconsequential to the big picture, they help you start to really believe in your new paradigm.
Step Four - Take action in support of your new paradigm
Now is the time to start taking action towards your new paradigm. Time to walk the walk. Using our money example, this could be as simple as creating a spreadsheet to start recording the flow of your income & expenses (I use Money Manager on my Android phone!). This action shows you are managing your money. Open a savings account for the money you have left at the end of the month. Whatever those actions are that you are now going to do, you must act on them and carry them out with confidence and trust in yourself. These types of actions are powerful messages to your subconscious that ingrains the belief that you believe in yourself.
Whatever stage your life is at right now, you probably have one or two areas you might not be completely happy with. Perhaps it is time to think about what you would like to have or experience instead, but don’t tell anyone. Any habit, pattern, or behavior can sometimes appear difficult to change, but if we want a different result in our lives…. a result that would completely surprise us, we would need to change something. Now go out there and start creating the reality that you truly want to experience by putting into practice the above steps that are… 1. Deciding what you want, 2. Defining what you need to believe, 3. Gather evidence for support, and finally… 4. Taking action to support your new paradigm.
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”