Monday, July 4, 2022

PARADIGM LOST

A while ago, I came across an article on the internet by some wise lady called Lucy Gaughan. She says that because she dislikes change she is going to resolve to continue, in the New Year, to do what she likes and that way if she fails she will be a better person for it. Her list reads like this:

Always drink to get drunk and don’t stop until you’re as wasted as a pack of condoms in a nunnery.
Dancing must always involve throwing shapes of some kind and while we’re at it, why not bring the robot moves back?!

Text everyone in your phonebook at 2am when drunk so no-one feels left out.

Eat. Everything. All the time.

Keep smoking and if you don’t already, start! You’ll look cooler.

Don’t even think about exercise ÔÇô it’s a waste of energy that could be used for more of the above.
Break all these resolutions and you may have a chance of not turning out to be a fat, embarrassing waster.

No point, I say.

A cunning plan, I say. If she just carries on as normal, at least she can claim to be sticking to each and every one of her resolutions but if she doesn’t come down to her usual standards, she might be guilty of breaking them but she’ll feel all the better health-wise.

Maybe we should all take a leaf out of her book. Don’t you just feel so under pressure at this time of year to make your list of New Year’s resolutions or New Year’s disillusions, as I like to call them ÔÇô because we never keep them, do we?

Just like we never manage to complete everything on those ‘to-do’ lists we make every Monday morning and let’s face it, New Years’ resolutions are merely annual ‘toÔÇôdo’ lists only more zealous. And the interesting thing is they don’t differ too much from London to Lobatse. The favourites are: Give Up Smoking, Start Gym, Give Up Alcohol, Start To Build A Better Relationship, Give Up Your Job, Start A New One. It’s all about giving up one thing so you can take up another. Makes you wonder why you ever started those bad things in the first place, doesn’t it?

But why should New Year’s resolutions always be about giving something up, or doing something difficult? This invariably leads to feelings of guilt over past behaviour followed by even more when you break the resolution to change.

Perhaps New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be about tangible goals like quitting smoking and regular excursions to the gym, they should be about getting your attitude right? And where does attitude and behaviour come from ÔÇô your paradigm or personal value system. Paradigms are such wonderful things because we don’t even know that we have them.

We don’t always acknowledge that they exist. We simply think that the way we see the world is the way it is, yet if you want to make meaningful changes to your behaviour you have to accept and alter your paradigm – the way you view the world. Not tiny tweaks to external attitudes and behaviour but getting to the root of where those attitudes and behaviour comes from and a complete re-evaluation.

John Kenneth Galbraith coined the phrase “conventional wisdom” to describe our reluctance to explore other physical and philosophical possibilities.

He said that we associate truth with convenience – that conventional wisdom if studied is nothing short of that which is simple, convenient, comforting and familiar ÔÇô though not necessarily true. The only way to change your paradigm is to accept that there is an alternative truth to what you believe.

That’s damn difficult because we are so conditioned to see the world as we have experienced it or have been told. We also work so hard looking for evidence to support and reinforce our world view that to dismiss conventional wisdom ÔÇô as we know it ÔÇô is to sail into uncharted waters and very unfamiliar territory and that takes courage – for all we know, the world really is square and we may be about to fall off the edge of it if we journey on.

Put simply our life paradigm is all about staying safe within our personal comfort zone so to shift it, which ultimately will achieve meaningful transformation, you have to challenge core beliefs and conventional wisdom ÔÇô that which is simple, convenient, comforting and familiar to you.

It means letting go of the old models and replacing them with new, accurate ones, beginning with the concept of personal responsibility. To swap the feeling of ‘I am where I am because of external forces and events beyond my control…’ to ‘I am where I am because of the decisions and choices I have made’.

That’s a quantum leap in personal perspective, especially if you have spent a lifetime bemoaning your lot in life and blaming other people and unavoidable circumstances for where you are today. All of a sudden the paradigm has changed and the buck stops with you.

If you are serious about significant change, this New Year you need to stop hacking away at the leaves of attitude and behaviour and get to the root ÔÇô your paradigm That’s where real life changes, meaningful ones at least, will come from. So this year tear up your ten commandments and resolve instead to embark on a journey of self-exploration and genuine personal fulfilment which has to be better than taking that inevitable annual guilt trip.
Agree or disagree with this?

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