Monday, January 5, 2009

The Power of Paradigm

Earlier, I discussed the Character Ethic and What to Do When We Disagree with Others as outlined in the introduction of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Along with these ideas, Covey defines paradigms and what they mean in our lives.

He describes paradigms as maps, theories, or explanations that we use to view the world. He suggests that two kinds of maps exist:
  1. Realities-maps of the way things are
  2. Values- maps of the way things should be
Wrapped up in our paradigms is who we are. Covey tells us that "we see the world as we are". In fact, though we may talk about taking someone else's point of view, it is incredibly hard to do. This is what I outlined in my previous post.

In regard to paradigms, Covey insists that they are not separable from our character. He says,
Being is seeing in the human dimension. And what we see is highly interrelated to what we are. We can't go very far to change our seeing without simultaneously changing our being, and vice versa.
This changing our being is what many of us instinctively know we must do. How else can we explain the drive to make and keep New Year's Resolutions? We want happiness and know that involves seeing the world differently. And yet we makes goals to change ourselves to see the world differently. It truly seems to be a complimentary process as Covey describes.

As we change both our being and our seeing, then, we change our paradigms of realities and values.

Following posts will outline the habits Covey gives us to be stronger in our quest to change paradigms.

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