Posted on : 25-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Creativity, Leadership
Tags: stepping out of systems
You may be thinking, “first of all Lynn, what the heck do you mean by “systems” much less paradigms”? Good question! In this blog, I am using the word system to refer to large institutions, businesses and/or entities who have been using a well worn pattern of offering services or creating products. I’ve always been a kind of renegade when it comes to bucking various systems; however, in many instances I was my own worst enemy because I allowed my personal unmet needs and wants to get in the way of why a particular system or paradigm was not working for me. People tend to not listen or adhere to what someone is saying about an outdated/outmoded system when they keep confusing what they haven’t taken care of within with what is not working outside of themselves.
The good thing about getting older is that hopefully you’ve had a chance to work out some of your issues and questions about yourself and the world around you which you can then use to help support your point of view rather than detract from it. Another thing is time becomes very relevant, even though it has always been true that you only really have the very moment in front of you that you can count, it becomes easier to distinguish where you want to direct your passions and spend your time (the grains of sand seem to be moving faster!)
In a conversation with a good friend who is mentoring/coaching me right now, we were talking about various systems and how they are changing and/or need to change. In the past five years we have seen many systems seemingly go away and new ones replace them over night (such as the impact of book stores, newspapers and magazines by electronic media). We also talked about academia. For the past three years, I’ve been faithfully driving 70 miles twice a week to a college campus to finish up a degree. I’ve always been a lover of learning and, for the most part, have enjoyed the classes. Now that I am about 13 classes away from graduating, I’ve become somewhat disillusioned because of the “system” that says even if your someone my age “you have to take two physical education classes” (I run about 27 miles a week) or you’re put into a large class such as Biology with 150 other students with one teacher and no TAs which then forces the teacher to give multiple choice tests instead of tests that give you the opportunity to show what you’ve learned and not what you crammed to memorize. It’s all about memorization. My friend and I agreed that large universities like the one I’m going to are about ten years behind what is going on socially. Surely the reason for memorization (and not comprehension) is outmoded by the sheer aspect that we can look up pretty much any piece of information we need on our PC’s let alone most phones at anytime we wish.
Last semester I had a fantastic professor who has a Ph.D. in Social Work. She saw my aptitude and leanings and encouraged me to explore changing my major to social work which I seriously considered. But upon further exploration, I discovered that our school only offered two areas of study and internship under the umbrella of social work which were Child Protective Services (don’t even get me started on the dysfunctionality of that system) and Geriatrics (so nursing homes and assisted living centers). Both areas were well established systems with entrenched paradigms. From my experience with both systems as passionate and well intentioned as I may be, if I went into either system over time I would be absorbed like a tar baby into the sludge of yesterday. Change won’t happen within it will happen by stepping out and creating a whole new way of doing things. For example, I am hopeful that there is quite a bit more movement to creating intergenerational villages and moving away from traditional nursing homes and assisted living.
I am also hopeful that as more and more of us step out of systems and paradigms all kinds of new and good changes will be created. When you take into consideration the impact of global population growth and how all of us could be living on this here Earth a few years down the road, it becomes apparent that some systems will have to go away and new systems created to take their place in various economies, in ways of doing business and in how we think about ourselves and interact with our world.
It’s either that or annihilation and I’d much rather put my intentions towards creating better ways of living wouldn’t you?