In 2017 as I lay on my bed after finishing a class at university, I was feeling hopeless and lost. I didn’t enjoy the concept of university, and was feeling a significant lack of purpose in my life. While aimlessly scrolling through Instagram to pass the time, I came across Gary Vee’s post which read: “the most successful people in the world read on average 50 books per year.” I had never enjoyed reading, mainly because of the books we were forced to read in school. I always knew that conformity and the system was not for me, but that success was something I truly desired deep down, so I went to go and find a book.
Fortunately, my dad has a bookshelf with hundreds of options. After a quick scan, I picked out Positivity by Barbara Frederickson. I began to read it – and I was hooked. Within a week I had finished it, feeling like I’d learned more in those 250 pages than I had throughout 12 years of schooling. And so began my journey on the pursuit of knowledge, which has truly transformed my life. It enabled me to act on things I never otherwise would have, and has built me into the capable, outgoing and driven person that I am today.
From the moment I picked up that book, my paradigm shifted. Essentially a paradigm is a framework – whether it be something we consciously or unconsciously embody, our paradigm is what guides our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions. A paradigm shift is when a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions of a belief system takes place, which allows us to transform and will inevitably shape us into the next version of ourselves that we become.
Before, I was living in a paradigm where I was lost – wanting success, but not truly believing I could achieve it. After all, every habit, behaviour or belief is simply a pattern in our brain – the more you reinforce something into your mind and body, the stronger that pattern will become. The moment I began to empower myself through knowledge, was the moment I could start to see myself achieving the things I wanted to achieve. Many of them have manifested, and I’m truly excited to see how far I can take it.
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney
One of the biggest problems I see with society, some of my friends and family included, is that they’re stuck in the same paradigm they’ve been in most of their lives, because that’s all they know. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to break free from the deep conditioning we’ve experienced since we were young, but with discipline and continuous work, we can. When you do, there is truly no better feeling than setting your mind to something and going out and achieving it. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have never struggled with your own mind, changes are quite often unnatural and difficult.
Many of us find comfort and security in our beliefs, which is why it can be so hard to question and challenge them. It is scary and confronting to think that everything we’ve ever been taught is not true, which is why so many would rather live in denial rather than accept, face and embrace the often-uncomfortable truth.
Regardless of this, not all hope is lost and it’s never too late to change – whether you’re 16 and want to start your own business, or 45 and want to quit your job to pursue something you’re passionate about. The first step is to change your mindset and shift your paradigm to get to a place where you have such a deep conviction in yourself and what you’re doing, that there is no way you can’t achieve it.
“Conventional wisdom is the scripture of mediocrity.” – Dan Pena
Despite being a quote that ruffles a few feathers, it’s a mantra that I live by. If everyone’s walking in one direction, I’ve trained myself to go the other way. The majority of people never succeed, which is why I choose to take the lonely and uncertain path, rather than the one of least resistance. But believe me, if you had said this to my 15-year-old self, I would have quivered at the thought. That’s why I say if I can do it, anyone can.
In my opinion, a paradigm shift is the most profound, transformative and growth-causing thing one can do for themselves. After all, we will only regret the chances we didn’t take, and we won’t take those risks if we are stuck in a paradigm that tells us to take the safest route possible.