A Change In Paradigm

As I was reading my blog again yesterday I thought of a story we used in some of our trainings.  It has to do with how we see things in life.  It actually opened the door to seeing things through a new paradigm.  We used to talk about paradigm shifts quite frequently. But what is a paradigm shift?  Think of a paradigm shift as a change from one way of thinking to another.  It doesn’t just happen but rather, it is driven by agents of change. 

Keeping this in mind let me share the story with you.  Visualize yourself on a safe, clean subway car.  It’s Sunday morning and the air is quite peaceful.  There aren’t too many passengers riding the subway this morning so it gives you an opportunity to read the Sunday morning paper.  At the next stop a father boards the car with his two children. He sits across from you and has one child in his arms and the older little boy moves about the car freely. As the train moves along the track, the little boy starts to run rambunctiously up and down the car calling out and making all sorts of noise.  He starts jumping up and down, on and off the empty seats.  You glance over at the father and he does not  look up at his son and just keeps his head down holding his other child.  The little boy now just seems to pick up steam and continues running back and forth and he manages to pull some of your newspaper down to the floor.  You’re getting annoyed now because this family has disrupted your peaceful ride and they show no consideration for you or anyone else.  You glance over at the father and again he is just looking down and not noticing how disruptive his young son is and now you start to feel the anger building up. How is it that a father cannot notice how his own child is behaving, you think.  What is wrong with this man? Doesn’t he know how this child is disturbing me and other passengers?  And yet, nothing.  The father does nothing.  After a few more minutes of this you just can’t take it anymore and you look up at the father and in a firm, stern voice you say “Excuse me sire, but do you see how disruptive your son is?  Can’t you get him to stop!”

And the father looks up at you and with a sunken look on his face and watery eyes he responds in a very quiet voice “I’m so sorry sir.  I guess he’s acting out in his own way.  You see we just came from the hospital where his mother just died”   Right there and then, you feel this pit in the middle of your stomach.  How could you have even considered being angry.  You think of how inconsiderate you now feel and ashamed of even suggesting he do something.

How you see this child and father has completely changed.  You aren’t upset anymore.  As a matter of fact you extend a helping hand and see if there is anything you can do to help this man and his children.  That’s a paradigm shift.  And the lesson here is we need to be open so we can see things differently.  As I mentioned yesterday, let’s not be so haste in judging and criticizing people or events happening around us.  Perhaps if we see things using a new paradigm we will also see that we are surrounded by opportunities in our life.  We will see that there are so many positive events and things going on in our own lives and in the environment around us.  Can you see them?  Look for them, focus on them and most important of all … share them.

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