Paradigm Shift

"Paradigm Shift"What is a paradigm shift? Loosely defined, it’s a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

Have you ever been “stumped” by something? You know, the kind of thing that no matter what angle you looked at it from, the answer seemed to be “nope, can’t get there from here.” Did you quit trying or did you keep searching for the answer?

Sometimes we get so attached to the way in which we’re looking at something, that we have a hard time seeing it in a new light. A fundamental change in approach or underlying assumption – a paradigm shift – is what’s needed to move us beyond the rut we’re stuck in and get us headed in the right direction.

It’s not always easy to know what will push us over that edge into that new frontier, but if we keep pushing that envelope, we’ll get there.

This morning I read an article about two doctors in Houston, Texas who have created an artificial heart that does not break down, wear out, create clots or infections…or have a heartbeat. You can read more about it in the article “Heart With No Beat Offers Hope Of New Lease On Life.”

A heart with no heartbeat. That gave me pause (no pun intended.) It turns out that surgeons have been trying for decades to recreate a heart with a heartbeat, and putting that bit of rhythm in there – which requires mechanical action which equals moving parts which wear out and apparently contribute to clotting and infection, has retarded progress to a degree. These two doctors in Houston had a paradigm shift: Why does the heart have to beat?

It turns out that the heart doesn’t have to beat. In a circulatory system with a natural heart a beat is needed so that the heart muscle can nourish itself, but a mechanical heart doesn’t have to beat, it only has to pump. A simple machine with whirling motors that keeps a constant flow of blood circulating through the body satisfies all of the organs and only has one moving part: the whirling motor.

A novel idea with the potential to heal a lot of broken hearts…literally and figuratively.

Another great example of a game-changing paradigm shift (also mentioned in this article) concerned man’s desire to fly. When we aspired to climb skyward we looked to winged things for inspiration: birds, bats, butterflies, bees. They all used flapping wings to fly, yet flapping wings were not helping man to fly.

What shifted that lifted us into the air? It was our fundamental approach to the challenge: We suddenly realized that we could create wind and that wind over a fixed wing created the lift necessary for flight. The rest, as they say, is history.

If you find yourself up against the proverbial “tough nut to crack,” don’t give up. This is the age of paradigm shifts. Sometimes it takes stepping away from a challenge for a few days so that you can see it again for the first time. Whatever it takes, hang in there. Who knows what promise your paradigm shift will yield?


  1. Heart With No Beat Offers Hope Of New Lease On Life…

    Enlarge Courtesy of the Texas Heart Institute An X-ray shows the dual turbinelike blood pumps that replaced Craig Lewis’ heart. These devices were used in a last attempt to save his life. ……

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