Topics: Paradigm shift / Pages: 5 (1174 words) / Published: Dec 5th, 2012

The Power of a Paradigm

Before we can really begin talking about change and solving problems, we need to understand what a paradigm is and how to make a "paradigm shift".

Paradigm is a Greek word. It was originally a scientific term, and is more commonly used today to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption, or frame of reference. In a more general sense, it's the way we "see" the world - not in terms of our visual sense of sight, but in terms of perceiving, understanding and interpreting.

A simple way to understand paradigms is to see them as maps. We all know that "the map is not the territory." A map is simply an explanation of certain aspects of the territory. That is exactly what a paradigm is. It is a theory, an explanation, or model of something else.

Each of us has a great many maps in our head, which can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities, and maps of the way things should be, or values. We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we're usually even unaware that we have them. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be.

Paradigm Shifts

To give you some idea of the impact of the reality of a paradigm, read the following paradigm-shifting experienced as told by Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute.

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reporting "Light, bearing on the starboard bow." "Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out.

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