Landmark Forum Leader Insights


Stepping outside of existing paradigms, playing a bigger game


A paradigm is a two-edged sword. When we swing it one way, it cuts the information that agrees with it into very fine, precise detail. But when we swing it the other way it will cut us away from information that runs counter to it.* In other words, the paradigms we operate from block out specific elements of what we’re engaging in, and magnify others. That distorted perspective renders some things possible, some impossible, others not seen at all. We can change things within an existing paradigm and be quite effective, but what we get is only incrementally more of what we already have. Issues arise when who we are, and the environment within which we’re operating pushes for something else, when our commitments call for a more expansive landscape, a bigger game.

Stepping outside of an existing paradigm requires questioning our old assumptions, conclusions, decisions, etc.—not to get new answers, but to reveal what’s possible in being human. It takes a high degree of courage to live with the contradictions between our old views and whole new horizons of living (especially when what we’re currently doing may need substantial “undoing”). Human beings aren’t genetically encoded with just one way of seeing things or one way of doing things—it’s not a matter of finding a better paradigm, but a matter of being able to move among them. It’s not a matter of getting rid of our knowledge and experience. It’s a matter of getting our blind spots out of the way so there is nothing between us and what we’re engaging with. The idea that we have a choice, a say, is a central precept of transformation.

*Joel Barker

Steve Zaffron, CEO of Vanto Group
Steve Zaffron
CEO of Vanto Group

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