Hello there. Come on in thanks for stopping by. So I hear you are interested in the What is a Paradigm Shift?. I am going to share with you three of the most life changing paradigm shifts I have personally experienced. They change for everyone but the theme I want to illustrate here is the alignment of paradigm shifts and life stages.
I strongly believe that we live life in the following general stages
- 0-13 Nurturing stage
- 13-20 Weening stage
- 20-30 Learning stage
- 30-40 Doing stage
- 50-60 Embracing stage
- 60-70 Reminiscing stage
The peculiar thing about this concept is that you have to go through some pretty major changes in attitude and mindset to make a clean break from one life stage into the next successfully. That is when a paradigm shift comes in handy.
Next I want to quickly detail the nature of these three paradigm shifts. Remember for something to be considered a paradigm shift it has to completing change you entire framework of reality and make you see it through an entirely new lens. Paradigm shifts cannot be undone and when they do happen you typically only have two choices
- Find a bigger and more restrictive paradigm to replace it with, or
- Open up your eyes to life with a bit more uncertainly but a lot more choices.
Example #1 – Cast Off by mother (teens)
Just like the majority of people these days my parents are separated. Back in those days it was a lot bigger deal and certainly not considered normal activity. When considering the young man (or girl) you shouldn’t find it hard to believe that the strongest paradigm in life (thing that you take for granted) is that a mother will care for and nurture you. It is something strongly drilled into us from day 1 but it is also something that we innately and instinctively taken for granted and rely on to survive those formative years. My mother decided to leave our family when I was in high school. The paradigm shift in this example is that a huge chunk of my sense of self identity and moral value jumped into a completely different direction.
So how do you come to terms with such a shift? The common emotions that quickly follow align with betrayal, hurt, rejection, loss, grief – those sorts of negative emotions. If you are not careful these emotions can take hold and turn into depression or anxiety but they are natural and they are necessary. They get you through to the next stage which is redefining yourself and redefining a new framework for a new reality. Obviously there is no two personalities the same and no two personal reality frameworks are the same so all the external help in the world will only build new paradigms for you.
Example #2 – Death of last childhood confidant (early 30s)
As you get older one thing you will find is that the bonds you make with friends as a child and teenager are a truckload stronger than the friends you make as an adult. At some point in time you will bury a last childhood friend and have to face the new reality that now no one alive really and truly understands your past or your origins anymore. I found this a really big deal when it happened to me. It brought about a whole new feeling of vulnerability and exposure but it also created feelings of distance and separation from the surrounding people. Of course just as above the immediate reactions of grief, loss and hurt lead into a period of having to redefine yourself and a life aspirations without that future a thought was paved out for you in stone. The death of any close family members or friends will bring about mandatory paradigm shifts but often they as they happen more and more they become more temporary (if you let them).
Back to the discussion on the life stages you may not have ever heard this point before but there is something quite profound that happens to and changes the majority of people in their late 20s to prepare them for their 30s. Ever heard of the forever 27 club? For the mere mortals among it the paradigm shift is more likely to be something along the lines of:
- graduating from the learning stage of a career and gaining enough experience to really start out on your own
- move out of parent home & buy your own
- marriage and commitment
Example #3 – Breakup/Divorce/Separation with kids (early 40s)
Another reality shattering moment in time came at the time of a marriage breakdown. Again everything planned for the future, every sense of present reality and all the untruth from the past came crashing down to shift every perception I had. Up is no longer up. Down is no longer down & I found myself no longer the person I thought I was (husband, father, provider and carer). It is amazing and very powerful how your entire identity and your entirely perception of the world can be pulled out from under you overnight. This is the power of a major paradigm shift.
I had been through a dozen or so of the major paradigm shift by now but this one for me was the accumulation of all the others stacked on top of each other. For me the previous deaths were easier to deal with because they had ceremonial actions to perform hence a pathway to follow.
Additionally, I would like to mention that Andropause is real and that even without a breakdown in a relationship some of the bigger changes to a man’s biology happen around the age of 40. Feel free to ask your questions in the comment area below.
Voluntary Paradigm Shifts vs Involuntary
Thanks for persisting this long. I hope you found the discussion useful. The three example above were all occurrences when paradigm shift involuntarily happened to me. They all brought about great stages of personal growth which is why some people go around searching for ways to voluntarily bring about such paradigm shifts. Ancient cultures used initiation ceremonies to instigate such shift in a boy’s life around the age of 15. Girls naturally experience such paradigm shifts through the birth process. Of course those ancient customs have been lost to us and the next biological shift in men happens around the age of 40 (that’s when our testosterone lowers enough for us to start thinking above the waistline again).