”In order to change a situation, you first have to change yourself. And to change yourself effectively, you first have to change your perception.”
Covey explains that a paradigm is the way that you “see” the world, the way you perceive the world, understand it’s workings and interpret events. Our behaviours and attitudes are a direct result of our paradigms. Without these, we simply have nothing to base ourselves on, Covey explains that we would lack integrity. Paradigms and our behaviours cannot be mutually exclusive.
Now that we understand what a paradigm is, the next question is can paradigms change over time? Covey explains that they absolutely can, and it’s almost inevitable that they will. Sometimes the changes can be considered positive or negative and some might be instant whereas others happen over a long period of time. Every time a paradigm shifts you are experiencing a powerful change, the way you see the world and the way you behave is probably changing.
”A Paradigm Shift is the “a-ha” experience associated with finally perceiving or understanding some aspect of the world (or a circumstance) in a different way.”
A principle, on the other hand, is something that Covey describes as a natural, unbreakable law. He explains that we don’t necessarily look at our lives in relation to a paradigm or map. The paradigms are what Covey calls a ‘subjective reality’ – the way we can describe the territory. However, it is the ‘lighthouse’ principles that are the ‘objective reality’ – these principles are the key to growth and our overall happiness. You can see these principles and laws everywhere you look, any family, community, city or society at any time in history has had their own natural laws.
Covey explains that the way that we see problems that we face, is actually the problem. He explains that if you look within, and analyse the real problem, it’s not something that can be solved on the surface. It’s more to do with what we think about the problem. In order to ‘solve’ the problem, we need to adjust our thinking and find a new level of thinking. Concerns are deeper issues, they are never as shallow as they might first appear.