January 22, 2018 - London, UK

On paradigms, culture and being cool

Just found this in my drafts. It’s from May 2013 but it’s quite fun. I think the ending meme dates it, though.

This guy entered the train and sat next to Stephen. His two kids were doing a lot of noise, everyone was bothered but the guy didn’t seem to care. Stephen couldn’t concentrate on his reading; that situation was unacceptable. He talked to the guy.

“Sir, your children are annoying everyone. Won’t you do anything?”

The guy looked sleepy and had dark circles under his eyes. He looked at Stephen, surprised, as if he had been awaken from a daydream.

“Oh sorry, I am so sorry, I think I should talk to them. Please, forgive their behaviour. We are coming from my wife’s funeral, I don’t really know how to deal with that and I think they don’t know either.”

Boom! Everything changed. No one expected that. His attitude immediately changed from angry to receptive and willing to help. That situation happened to Stephen Covey, the famous author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He tells this story to explain the idea of a paradigm. A paradigm is the way you see stuff; it is based on your knowledge and experience.

The response of the father changed Stephen Covey’s view of the situation, changed his paradigm. When Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, he changed the epoch’s production paradigm. People didn’t know they could manufacture products that way, his idea brought a new point of view to the world.

But the problem is that you don’t really see the world as the world is; you see it as you are.

If you never see everything that is going on, you, necessarily, see always just a fraction of the whole picture. You are not omniscient and many times, if not most of the times, you are wrong. The fact you don’t know you are wrong doesn’t make you any right. If a hundred thousand people say a foolish thing, it will still be a foolish thing to say.

The worst thing that could ever happen to you is, in the middle of a fierce argument, to discover you are wrong. We have mountains of ego and pride holding us from acknowledging our ignorance. Sometimes we argue over subjects we don’t even know anything about, but we are just too proud to admit it.

Once I heard of an interesting survey. Researchers would ask people in the streets how the weather would be like in two weeks. Many people said sunny, rainy, stormy and so on, but just a few really admitted they didn’t have the remotest idea of how the weather could possibly be like in two weeks.

Most of the times that is the right answer. We have all these concepts and ideas in our mind, and we forget we don’t really have a good reason for most of them to be that way. We grew up seeing things this way, and then we think that is a good reason for it to be like that. We forget we don’t have any logical rationale at all going on behind the way we do stuff.

My mum deals with different cultures and she has a very good definition for culture, on the tip of the tongue: “Culture is the way we do things here”. There is no why, is just the way it’s done here.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “He that would live in peace & at ease, Must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.

Doesn’t matter how self-concious of our ignorance we try to be, we always enter arguments on things we are not sure of. We still judge people based on what we think is right, regardless of how wrong our right could be.

Well, I have a new exercise for you: Give up.

Why don’t you just give up? Give up on your proud and on your reputation of truth bearer and give in to what someone else may think. Have you ever though “what if I am wrong?” Because you may as well be.

I’d really like to go on and talk more about other stuff but, given that we are in this point of being sincere and admitting things , don’t you thing this post is way too boring? I’m the one writing and I can’t take it any more, I imagine how it is being for you that is reading. Maybe if I put a funny video or pictures of cool inventions we never find anywhere to buy then it would be more interesting. I am really thinking of changing some colours around the blog, add more stuff on the side. Who knows? That was my girlfriend’s idea, I loved it. But to add things to the template of the blog I will have to change my host, and I don’t know how to do that very well, so I am afraid of screwing up everything.

As a computer student, changing a blog host shouldn’t be a big deal. Please don’t judge me. People usually have this thing with not telling anyone about the things they don’t know. I believe they think people will like them less if they say it. I got to that conclusion because that’s what I think; that’s why I don’t want you to judge me.

We don’t want others to know we don’t know stuff, and also we don’t want people to think they impress us in any way!

Mckayla Maroney is no impressed