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How To Change Your Paradigm | What Is A Paradigm?

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A paradigm is a view point. It’s how you see the world and interpret its events. It’s how you see yourself on the stage of life. 

It holds the seeds of your thinking that you water with your thoughts. Then your ensuing actions on those thoughts determine your results. Then your results and outcomes further reinforce that paradigm.

You have several different paradigms in different areas of your life. These are affected by all sorts of outside factors out of your control and some within your control.

Your genetic pre-dispositions, the environment you were raised in, the paradigm of the people in your immediate environment, the content you consume, your life experiences and on and on.

It’s important to recognize the existence of paradigms and review your own very carefully and deliberately because they will shape the entire life experience you will have. 

Your paradigm and viewpoints are the difference between success and failure, pushing forward and quitting, pain and pleasure, and they decide how you perceive the events of your life. 

For example, if a person is existing in the paradigm that nothing goes their way and they always get the short end of the stick.

Every negative event that occurs in their life, every tiny failure, every rejection, every minor inconvenience will hit them at their core to further reinforce this way of thinking.

You can imagine, their life wouldn’t be very pleasant. 

They wouldn’t bother to set big goals because why would you? It’s not for you. You already know you’re going to fail. You already know that other people with better luck will make good on those opportunities.

You don’t even bother to see the opportunities around you, because why waste the energy of even perceiving them?

On the other hand, if a person lives in the paradigm of thinking that they are made to succeed. That everything happening is happening in their favour to teach them and strengthen them. That every failure is only opening the door to a better opportunity than the one they were pursuing.

You can imagine how this type of individual would react to the exact same micro-failures, rejections, inconveniences that the first person faced.

You can imagine that their actions would look vastly different. They would constantly perceive the environment around them as full of opportunities leading them to where they want to go. They would see every rejection as a learning point and a redirection to something better.

It’s not hard to see that they’d live a much happier and productive existence despite having faced the exact same events as the person in example 1.

So it seems obvious that we’d all want a paradigm similar to that of person 2. So why don’t we just adopt it?

It’s not that simple.

As I mentioned earlier there are many factors that effect your viewpoint of the world and your resultant actions.

If you were born to parents with depression, your genetic predisposition is higher. Sorry. Nothing to do about that.

If your formative years were spent in a household where everything was about scarcity, pinching pennies and how the only way to become wealthy is to cheat your way to it, you are likely to grow up with money problems. 

These are not absolutes and the point is not to wallow in self-pity if the conditions of your life were not optimal growing up. We all have different problems in different areas.

The point is to recognize that these factors you may have not previously considered, are shaping the way you are thinking and living your life now.

The point is to become conscious of your current paradigms and explore where they came from before doing anything to fix them.

This can be a difficult process. You are going into the deep, dark parts of your mind that you may have consciously or subconsciously repressed. 

You have to face head-on the events, people and contents of your past that have shaped your frame of mind into what it is now.

We all grow up thinking that the adults in our immediate environment know everything and are perfection to be embodied. 

Then we get to a certain age when the veil is lifted and we see people for who they really are. Well intentioned, in most cases, but flawed just like any other individual.

So the choice you are left with is simple but not easy. Carry on with the paradigms you were programmed with through parents, school, friends, life events or sit down to pull them out from the roots and replace them with ones that serve you. 

I grew up in a household where hard work was promoted. No complaining, do what needs to be done. Challenges, hardships, failures are all par for the course. You learn from them, improve and keep it moving. You keep your head down and do high quality work and let the results speak.

Fantastic. That’s a strong paradigm that I have kept, and it serves me well. 

In that same household, was a scarcity of money, regardless of how much there actually was. And fair enough. My parents grew up with an actual scarcity of money and as did their parents so they were programmed the same way. I was passed on this programming.

I remember one particular event in my life when I was 6 years old. We were at the grocery store and I sneakily put one of those cheese string packets into the cart. The ones that you could make weird shapes out of.

We got to the cash register and it got scanned in as $7. My mom calmly told the cashier to remove it and that we didn’t want them. But the look in her eyes told a different story. They were filled with rage as they looked at me. The nerve to spend $7 on a pack of cheese sticks? Never again.

And so I grew up with the scarcity of money. Even after my parents were stable and well off, I’d over hear them arguing about why one used two sheets of paper towel instead of one. Inflation was high. 

And so I was the same way. Any time there was a social event, I’d pre-calculate how much I’d have to save and how much I could spend to the point that it took the fun out of the event itself.

I remember submitting my first payment of medical school tuition to the tune of multiple 10s of thousands of dollars. My heart nearly sank to my stomach and came out of my feet.

This paradigm was not so useful for me. It taught me to be prudent with money and smart about spending but did a lot more harm than good. 

I had to sit down, take it apart and replace it with one that served me better. One where the opportunities to earn money were abundant. One where you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour. One where it was understood that having a big account balance when you die won’t mean much and that you have to find the right balance between saving and enjoying.

So you see, in different areas of your life, you may have paradigms that serve you and those that do not.

Take a sheet of paper and break down how you think about and approach different parts of your life and identity. Where did they come from? What events/people/teachings led you to think this way?

Don’t just drift along in life living the same day over and over again because you never stopped to question why you are doing what you are doing. 

Once you are conscious of your paradigms, it’s time to change them. This doesn’t happen overnight. It will be uncomfortable. It will feel like you are faking it. It took years, maybe decades to build your current paradigms, so be patient with yourself when trying to change them. 

Our minds don’t like change. We like survival and consistency. So expect a battle.

Changing

The reticular activating system is a part of your mind that decides what to pay attention to and what to ignore. You don’t have the capacity to be thinking about everything all at once, you would lose your mind. 

You can think of this as your subconscious. This is why you can climb up and down stairs without thinking about it as you get older. It’s why sometimes you drive home and then realize you were thinking about other things while driving, and barely remember the drive.

So when it comes to changing paradigms, you have to reprogram what the RAS sees as important vs not. This comes from making the subconscious, conscious. You have to analyze the decisions you are making and thoughts you are having related to the paradigm you are trying to change. 

You need to accept the thought you are having, question where it is coming from, then move forward in the direction of the new paradigm. So for example:


If I see an online course that I know would serve me, but it’s $4000 and that immediately makes me anxious and I don’t buy it.

I need to pause and remember that I am having that thought because I have a mindset of scarcity when it comes to money. And that mindset is of my old paradigm which was programmed as a child. 

I have to then ask myself, how would the new paradigm version of me approach this? I would think that yes, $4000 is a good amount of money. But if the information I learn from that course returns me exponentially more and shortens my learning curve, then it is worth it. I’ll be able to make much more money from this. If it fails completely, then I have a job and savings that can absorb the hit.

I buy the course as an action that reinforces my new paradigm.

If you are insecure about yourself and have a poor self image that was programmed due to being bullied in your childhood.

Your process may look like this.

You see a person you want to talk to, and decide against it. All the normal thoughts come rushing in “I’m not good enough” “I’m ugly” “They won’t like me anyways” “I’ll just get rejected”.

And so you think about it. I am having these thoughts because of my shitty paradigm of putting myself down which came from my rough childhood. 

In my new paradigm, I am far from perfect but I’m doing everything I can to improve myself into who I want to be. I go to the gym, I eat well, I work hard, I try to improve areas of myself I’m not happy with.

So in keeping with this new paradigm, I will go talk to that person because I want to. I will look them in the eyes and have a normal conversation. I might still get rejected. It might still end up embarrassing me. But in the new paradigm, that will be a learning experience to improve on, and nothing more. 

This will be difficult and time consuming at first. But over time, you will train yourself to think differently. Over time, your new actions will lead to new results and reinforce the new paradigm.

And eventually, it will be just who you are. The RAS will have been reprogrammed. And now it will be hard to not think in the new way. 

Obviously, this is going to take varying amounts of time depending on where you are starting and where you want to be. 

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with one paradigm in one area of life before you can handle more.


Don’t be trying to battle your insecurities in your self-image and health while trying to fix your relationship with money.

You will get frustrated and give up.

It’s a challenging and tiring process, but it is worth it.

It leads to living your life in a more deliberate and conscious way. It leads to living with better paradigms that one day you will pass forward.

Again, the choice is yours. Do you want to become conscious of why you are doing what you are doing? Or do you want to exist from day to day wondering why nothing around you is changing and that you were doomed to this destiny?

Ask the questions. Provide the answers through your actions. It’s worth it. 

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