My mind right now feels a little heavy and so I sit down to write once again. General conference, dental school and life in general have my head spinning on idea overload. It usually is that way all the time, but more so when I feel a post coming on. I am by nature what people like to call “a scatter brain.” The time I take to sit down and write is actually therapy for my mind. It is my time where I can link all the crazy ideas in my head in some sort of logical coherence. I started blogging a year ago and little did I know that my blog would turn into what it is now (22 posts later!)…Although I am starting to get some good traffic I am not making money off of the blog and I never will. The purpose of my blog is to inspire others with the inspiration that I myself have received. It is a small way that I like to lift and help those around me. I focus on the gospel and lessons I have learned about truth. I talk in ideals because I am a dreamer but please realize that I am a piece of work. I don’t have all the answers and often I find it hard to live up to what I put down on paper. So before I dive into the topic I just wanted to say thank you for everyone who reads and for those that take the time to send me notes of appreciation and support. We are all in this together. Hearing from you gives me more motivation to keep writing!
Some of you may be asking yourselves right now…what in the world is a paradigm shift? Before I go any further I want to define this term clearly.
In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote “The Structure of Scientific Revolution”, and fathered, defined and popularized the concept of “paradigm shift” . Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a “series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”, and in those revolutions “one conceptual world view is replaced by another”.
We can think of a paradigm shift then as a change from one way of thinking to another. It doesn’t always have to be related to the context of science. It is a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It does not just happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change. In a way it is going against the grain or normal perceptions whether for good or bad.
The mind is a powerful control center that is often underestimated. After doing something regrettable we often question ourselves and how we got to that point. As we trace back our thought process it all goes back to a single initial thought in our head.
From the words of Cobb, the dream manipulator portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Inception…
“What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.”
The hardest task in life is to learn to master our own minds. If we can master our thoughts then our words and actions and decisions will follow and we will be in control.From the poem “Invictus,” we will be the masters of our fate and captains of our soul. Our lives will be in peace and harmony and our mind will be at subtle peace as everything will be in harmony.
We run into problems in life when we let our minds run haywire on us. Our actions will then also be all over the place and we will have lost total control of our lives. We will be like a tiny fall leaf that falls off a tree in the midst of a storm…we’ll be tossed here and there not knowing where exactly we will end up.
Training of the mind is the most difficult kind. Jedi mind control is what gave Luke and Darth Vader power in the old movie series “Star Wars.” But mind control is not just for science fiction and movies, it is a very real thing accessible to all of us in the here and now.
We are divine children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. He is the creator of the mind and therefore can teach us how to harness its power for good. Id like to compare our mind to the internet. We can use the internet for good or for bad. If we harness its power for our benefit it can be a huge source of light and knowledge. Anything and everything is at our fingertips on the web… Just as anything and everything is possible in the mind. We think it and it is created in our minds, we google it and it pos up on the screen!! Just as we need to make sure what we are choosing to do on the web is good and positive we need to make sure what we are choosing to put in our minds is positive and good. Easier said than done.
Mind control takes a lifetime of repeated efforts and refinement. When we are in control of our mind we are in control of our lives. We will think something and it will happen. Success will find us as desired outcomes become realities.
So where do we start our paradigm shift? How can we possibly begin a task so great as learning to conquer our own minds? The answer I believe lies in our own self perception. How we see ourselves affects all other areas of our lives for the negative or positive so we might as well start there.
I was first introduced to the term paradigm shift when I played volleyball at BYU from my coach Shawn Patchell. He was an English professor at BYU on top of coaching and would often hit us players with philosophy to try to inspire us and get us to think outside the box. He wanted us to see ourselves as champions…to think and therefore act, practice and play like champions.
I had to go through my own personal paradigm shift as apart of the BYU volleyball program. I came onto the volleyball team as a walk on and a three sport athlete in high school. I never played club volleyball. Most all of my teammates played only volleyball their whole lives and their games were much more polished skill wise. I was kind of a dark horse athlete with a ton of potential but more of a piece of work when it came to volleyball. I played setter in high school then when I red-shirted in 2004 as a freshmen BYU moved me to the outside hitter position.
After my mission I quit to pursue basketball…but an ankle fracture one day before tryouts left my basketball dream shattered. Miraculously the assistant volleyball coach saw me playing intramural volleyball a short time later and asked me to go back on the volleyball team. I was scared because of my lack of experience and wasn’t too confident in my abilities. On top of that he wanted me to play opposite hitter, a new position that i wasn’t familiar with.
So I had a decision to make. Should I go back on the team and try to discover my untapped potential as a volleyball player?
I needed to make a decision to go through my own paradigm shift and have a personal revolution… to believe in myself as a volleyball player. Instead of letting my lack of experience get me down I focused my thoughts on what I wanted to become. I knew my past experience in other sports could only help me become the best volleyball player I could be. I used my work ethic with weights and conditioning in other sports and channeled that into obtaining a higher vertical leap. I studied film of volleyball players and spent countless hours in the gym working on my skills. I took up beach volleyball in the offseason to further increase my skill level, ball control and conditioning. Long story short, after being away from volleyball for 3 whole years (mission plus one year after)…I was able to travel with the team that same year, earn a scholarship later on and develop into a team captain and starter at the opposite position. What if I would not have decided to make a paradigm shift in my head and believe in myself as a volleyball player? I don’t think I would have had much of a career at all. What I chose to believe about myself made all the difference.
Self perception really is everything… We need to decide what it is that we want to become and then align our thoughts and actions with that view we have of ourselves. The world and the critics around us will try to shove us into categories or confine us by how they see us…we can’t let that stop us from exercising our power to control our own destiny, to become what we want to become.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”—Teilhard de Chardin
Emphasizing the fact that we are spiritual beings should bring us a sense of empowerment. Our circumstances will always be changing around us. We can’t control that no matter how hard we try. It would be like trying to control the weather= impossible. We also can’t control are decisions by other human beings that affect us negatively. We have the power within us to rise above it all and become who we want to become regardless of what goes on around us, because our power and strength comes from within, it comes from the mind. We can choose to be happy. The way we react says a lot about our character and our level of mind control.
President David O. McKay once said: “Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the Infinite.”
When we realize our divine nature as children of our Heavenly Father we are blessed with direction. We need to be careful and align our thoughts with our father so that our lives can be matched up with his will.
Right now I am going through another paradigm shift that has to do with my current life situation. I am 27 years old, not married, Mormon and in dental school living in AZ. I go to school for 8 hours a day and I am acquiring huge amounts of debt. I often feel trapped in school and that my future dreams won’t ever come true. I want so badly to be settled down in my own home with a wife and to be a Father. I cannot afford to be unhappy with my current situation just because some of my dreams are taking more time to be fulfilled. I must look at myself and my current situation as a blessing and make the most of it. I have to realize that everything has its time. I need to let go of any worry, fear or doubt about the future and to simply go forward with patience and confidence that all my dreams will be realized at some point. I need not to worry when things don’t go as planned. I need to accept my situation and find happiness in the day-to-day. I can’t worry so much about forcing things to happen when I want them to…I have to let them come in the appropriate time.
Thus my paradigm shift is to change the way I see myself once again. I am not a failure because I am not married and not making money quite yet. I am in contrast, confident in myself and my situation and in my preparation for the future. I can use the power of my mind to stay positive and to prepare each day for what is ahead.
I went to LA last weekend and the road trip was complete therapy. There is something relaxing and mind settling about a long drive. I stayed at my good friend Marcus’ house who I met this summer. We spent time on the beach throwing a football, riding bikes, long boarding and eating good food. I had a long talk with him about my life right now and he really helped me see that I can’t afford to get frustrated or upset at circumstances. He kind of has a hippy mentality without the dreads or guitar to show for it.
Marcus recently got his expensive road bike stolen from right outside his apartment. I asked him if he was upset and he said no…I was kinda surprised…but then he just looked at me smiling and said, “well that sucks but I guess maybe he needed that bike more than me…” It takes a strong man with a powerful mind to be able to react that way to a situation like that.
I was reminded during that short weekend in LA that I must keep my feet on the ground and enjoy each day as if it was my last. The simple things in life are often the most rewarding. We made lasting memories and had long talks ill never forget. Really that is what life is all about. If we all took a little more time to slow down just for a minute and regain control of our minds we would be much better off. I believe I started a paradigm shift on that LA trip that I would like to continue in change… to be confident and patient in my situation, enjoy each day as if it was my last and to attempt to control only what I can control: My mind!!!
Lets all make the paradigm shifts we need to make in order to be at peace with ourselves and in harmony with our life circumstances and our Heavenly Father.