Embracing New Paradigms
“…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” – Romans 12:2
To be steeped in tradition is death. To live in the past is mortal. To hold on to old paradigms is fatal. A religion that does not change people’s minds is a cult, creates robots and leads to doom. Progressive societies and individuals embrace change. The renewing of the mind means the continual refining of thought patterns and processes. It means being born again, a renaissance. One symbol of dynamism in the contemporary world is the IT industry. I am a gizmo and gadgets freak so I marvel at the fast pace of technology. In 1980 mainframe computers where as big as a cold room – one had to literally get into the computer to fix it. Today, computers are as small as a cellphone complete with Windows Mobile software!
I have worked in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) industry all my life, and I know that investment in IT systems (hardware and software) is both a strategic and competitive imperative. For example the old telecom model of fixed lines is faced with extinction, with convergence even cellular companies have to change their mindset and move into broadband. The ICT industry is the caricature of the ever changing dynamics which as human beings we find ourselves in everyday. If your mind is stagnated in yesterday’s paradigm you become obsolete. Your mind, like a computer needs to have continuous “software” updates. Your knowledge repository needs to be constantly updated so you have a complete and functional database. Once in a while, it is even better to change the whole operating system. This means embracing new paradigms, new thinking and exploring new possibilities.
The Phronesis of Success
The embracing of new paradigms is about thinking differently. You are transformed into a new being. Whereas you used to think defeated, weak, beggarly, sickly, poor, downcast, you need to come to a place where you draw a line. Enough is enough! Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers of all time distinguishes between two intellectual virtues: sophia and phronesis. Sophia (Greek for “wisdom”) is the ability to think well about the nature of the world, and is used in our attempts to discover why the world is the way it is. Phronesis is the ability to think about how and why you should act in order to change things, and especially to change your lives for the best. To come to that place, you need to control the six elements of your brain which are:
1. Your Ego
This is the source of willpower. It acts as the ultimate judge, with the power to modify, reverse, change or remove the work of all the other elements of the brain. This critical part of your brain needs to be controlled. Your ego can stand for anything you value from sickness and poverty to your greatest desires. Your ego can be weak and timid or over inflated. Your ego and self esteem go hand in hand. It is about the value you place on yourself. There are certain places which you should declare you can’t live in, clothes that you can’t wear, car you can’t drive et.c. I know some of you might be thinking to ‘have an ego’ is pride. No. It is a God given faculty that is meant to drive your success. When David slew Goliath, his ego was saying “I can’t be defeated by this uncircumcised Philistine!” It was the Jewish/Israeli ego at stake. Every successful man and woman has an ego. Their success is protected by their ego. Likewise protect your ego from negative ideas. Do not let anyone or anything pollute it with thoughts of fear and worry through negative comments.
2. Your Emotions
The second element you need to control is emotions. I sleep peacefully everyday because I do not worry or fret over problems I cannot solve. No money in the bank, or no food in the fridge, work or car problems, I still sleep easy! In life there are two problems: one you can solve and one you cannot solve. The ones you can solve get on to solve them immediately. The ones you cannot solve shunt them to a sea of forgetfulness. Our upbringing has conditioned us to think that worrying over problems is responsibility. It’s not. When you worry you attract negative energy. It destroys your creative force, undermines your initiative, disturbs your faculty of reasoning and confuses your whole brain. To be successful, you need the self discipline of closing the door on fear and worry and open the doors of faith and hope. It is this character that makes you look cool like a cucumber even when challenges heat up in your life. Create an atmosphere of success in your life.
If the ego is the supreme judge, your reason is the judge of appeal, who deals with routine judgments. It is the master of opinions and judgments. This part of your mind is the one that teaches you to be circumspect, to be rational and make decisions which are sound. Your emotions can tell you to go and invest in a particular business, but your reason will tell you to consider all the substantive facts and fundamentals. This part of the brain is trained by observation, study and analysis of the truth. Like a judge you need to act having looked at all the facts presented before you. However only learned judges make rational and sound decisions. Therefore you need to train your mind to reason out things.
4. Your Imagination
This is the wellspring of ideas. All creative effort is birthed in this part of the brain. Your imagination should be aligned to your purpose, and not fantasies like winning the lotto. The wildest of ideas that have ever happened in the world originate from imagination. Think about Walt Disney. He imagined a theme park, where children would be playing while parents are laughing. This led to the birth of Disneyland. Or Ray Kroc, the milkshake machine salesman who imagined a MacDonald Restaurant at every suburban corner. Or the mother of all imaginations, Thomas Edison and the light bulb. You cultivate this faculty by challenging things, questioning things, possibility thinking and seeking out things. In a war zone, social or political quandary, financial quagmire – imagine your way out!
5. Your Consience
This is the moral voice of all your actions and thoughts. If you listen to this voice and take its counsel, you will forever be esteemed and have a sense of self honour too. When you sear your conscience you with a hot iron, it becomes dead. Success without a conscience is like a whitewashed tomb – glorious on the outside, but empty inside. This week I read that global warming has become a real threat to the world. Years of decadent and irresponsible success especially in the West is now causing serious unintended consequences. Don’t kill, steal, lie, bribe or buy your way to success. What is the point of winning a battle if you gonna lose the war?
6. Your Memory
One of the reasons why many people fail to move forward is because they are living in the past. You find a grown up man still grieving over a father they lost when they were still a young boy. Or you are still brooding over that lost opportunity, failed relationship, and divorce, lost business or job. Delete it from your memory – you are wasting space for good memories. Yes you can learn lessons from those past experiences, but going back to them takes you nowhere. However positive memories are anchors for success, so cherish them.