Have you ever heard of this saying, “The map is not the Territory”? I have been involved with personal development facilitation over the last 16 years, and how we think is an important factor towards our success. Two people could be looking at a situation and go away with completely different perceptive. One of the coaching tools that we use is called “re-framing”; which is about changing the meaning of an event so that you can remove the barriers that prevents you pursing a goal. This is called a paradigm shift, a different way of thinking, that causes long lasting change. One example of this is as follows.
I was unable to find a parking space near an office that I needed to visit for a client, and it was a hot day. It must have taken me 30 minutes to try to find a parking space and this meant that I had further to walk in the heat of the day.
My first thought was, “Its hot, I am stressed out as I am going to be late, and I will never find a parking space, poor me”. I could reframe my thoughts by thinking “Great I am able to save time today as I have a great opportunity to exercise now, instead of allocating time later today”.
THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY
The world paradigm comes from the Greek. It was originally a scientific term, and is more commonly used today to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption, or frame of reference. In the 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.
The map is not the territory. A map is simply an explanation of certain aspects of the territory. That’s exactly what a paradigm is. It is a theory, an explanation, or model of something else.
Each of us has many, many maps in our head, which can be divided into two 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.
THE POWER OF A PARADIGM SHIFT
Through the coaching, we are seeking the insight gained from our clients’ perception in paradigm shifting, what we might call the “Aha!” experience when someone finally “sees” the composite picture in another way. It’s as though a light were suddenly turned on inside.
Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world. The power of a paradigm shift is the essential power of quantum change, whether that shift is an instantaneous or a slow and deliberate process.
Not all paradigm shifts are positive, however positive or negative they move us into a different direction; whether they are instantaneous or developmental, paradigm shifts move us from one way of seeing the world to another. And those shifts create powerful change. Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and behaviours, and ultimately our relationships with self and others.
Principles are the territory – whilst values are the maps