Read these short blog posts to explore the Conventional and Natural Paradigms, and what it might mean to you to Re-Align with Nature.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), money is the top cause of stress in the United States . The problem is, we just never have enough of it. Do you live with that feeling, that belief?
Our current dominant cultural paradigm — what I’m calling the Conventional Paradigm — is based on believing that we live in a world of scarcity, that resources are limited and there’s not enough to go around. This belief is reinforced by the other beliefs of this paradigm: individuality, competition, greed, resistance, and fear.
Being able to manage scarcity is important, of course. Stress about scarcity has evolutionary roots. But it is curious that our stress about money is increasing at the same time our home sizes and waistlines are increasing.
There are clearly too many people that don’t have enough, but is that you? Our exploitative capitalist system is very effective at controlling our minds, convincing us that we never have enough. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you have a roof over your head, that your closets are too full, and that you’ve thought about losing weight. If so, you not only have enough, you have more than enough.
Do you really need to be stressed about money all the time? What are you using your money for? How much would be enough? What is really important to you? Does it include connection, purpose, joy, nature, inspiration, and love? These are things that money can’t buy. In fact, focusing on obtaining ever more material things diminishes our ability to focus on what really matters.
Nature’s Paradigm is based on valuing and believing in abundance, rather than scarcity. This belief is reinforced by the other beliefs of this paradigm: systems, synergies, trust, resilience, and curiosity. Wonderfully, the things that are most important to you are abundant — the more you seek, the more you find. The more you give away, the more you have.
The first step in shifting from the Conventional Paradigm to Nature’s Paradigm is to challenge your assumptions. Next time you’re stressed about money, or simply wishing you had more, challenge your assumption, challenge your belief in scarcity, challenge your participation in the Conventional Paradigm.
Paradigm shifts seem impossible, but shifting from the Conventional Paradigm to Nature’s Paradigm is possible because it’s already in you, and it’s freeing. It not only allows you to live in alignment with your own values, it allows you to live in alignment with Nature.
If you’re curious to learn more, I invite you to request the [free] Tiny Transformation Workbook which gives you tiny peeks into the Conventional and Natural Paradigms, and then a tiny experience of intentionally living from your Natural Paradigm.
The goal of biomimicry workshops is to share a fantastic (and fun) methodology for generating radically innovative and sustainable design ideas, inspired by Nature. Interestingly, however, while very few people get the chance to apply what they learn, most people are deeply impacted by the workshop experience. What is this experience? Why is it so compelling? Could it be that this experience is even more important than learning the design methodology?
If you’ve had a chance to participate in a biomimicry workshop, you probably know what I’m talking about. While learning to look at Nature as model, measure, and mentor, you experienced an expanded sense of curiosity and possibility. While working with the other participants, you experienced trust and synergy. Even without knowing biology, you sensed the logic and power of Nature’s strategies and systems, its abundance and resilience. You were inspired — and probably inspiring. You might have experienced a deep sense of well-being.
I believe that what’s happening in biomimicry workshops is that people get a tiny taste of letting go of our current dominant cultural paradigm — what I’m calling the Conventional Paradigm — and operating from Nature’s Paradigm. They have a sense of abundance rather than scarcity. They easily synergize rather than compete. They feel open to the insights and ideas of others, rather than resistant. They engage in authentic listening, co-creativity, emergent thinking.
Why is this important? First, because these are the very characteristics and conditions we need to imagine and co-create a sustainable, flourishing world. Second, while designing products and processes that emulate Nature’s strategies is critical to saving the planet, re-aligning our hearts and souls with Nature’s Paradigm is critical to saving ourselves, our humanity.
It is important because it tells us that we need to shift our dominant cultural paradigm. This seems like an impossible task; however, there are two reasons why I’m hopeful.
The first is that Nature’s Paradigm is our natural paradigm. We already know it and love it. When we operate from Nature’s Paradigm, we can be our full authentic self, our best self. When we learn to intentionally live from our Natural Paradigm, especially while engaged with the “real world”, we can begin to flourish. It's a very good feeling.
The second is that we already value expression of the Natural Paradigm in the “real world” — we just don’t recognize it as such. These are the times when a person hits flow at work and gets amazing things done. It’s when a team is energized and synergized and comes up with incredibly creative ideas and solutions. It’s the culture that eats strategy for lunch.
If you’d like to learn more, please explore wildhazel.net. While there, I invite you to request the [free] Tiny Transformation Workbook!
“You can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet” is a mantra in the sustainability community. This statement makes logical sense, of course, but I also believe that finite planet thinking is inhibiting us from achieving our sustainability goals.
In his book The Infinite Game Simon Sinek says that an infinite game is where all parties are working to keep the game in play perpetually, and that there are no winners or losers. By contrast, a finite game is where all parties agree that the game will end and that there will be winners and losers.
Sinek describes how business is an infinite game, yet most companies play this game with a finite mindset. Leaders with a finite mindset are focused on themselves, on their competition, and on winning. This mindset can lead to short-term wins for the leader and the company, but there are always losers, and there are always negative long-term consequences.
The problem is that many sustainability leaders have come to believe that to be successful, they need to think like business leaders — they need to operate with a finite mindset. They believe they have to play the game and play to win. They may seek win-win scenarios, but they still need to win. They may seek collaborations and partnerships, but when push comes to shove, they need to protect their own organizations, and themselves. Does this sound familiar?
It may be true that “You can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet”, but the planet, the celestial body we call Earth, is not really the focus of our concern. What we really care about are the systems of life that exist on our planet. We care about Nature and human well-being.
The goal of life on Earth is to keep life going, forever. Although each living thing is ephemeral, life itself continues by focusing on reproducing, recycling and regenerating, adapting and evolving, creating conditions conducive to life — and by depending on sunlight, an infinite energy source.
Nature has an infinite mindset and plays an infinite game, so in Nature infinite growth is possible.
Nature’s Paradigm — believing in and valuing abundance and systems, synergies and trust, resilience and curiosity — is an infinite mindset.
The Conventional Paradigm — believing in and valuing scarcity and individualism, competition and greed, resistance and fear —is a finite mindset.
I believe if we want to succeed in achieving our sustainability goals, we need to shift from a finite mindset to an infinite mindset. We need to shift from the Conventional Paradigm to Nature’s Paradigm.
If you’re curious, I invite you to download the [free] Tiny Transformation Workbook which will give you tiny peeks into the Conventional Paradigm and the Natural Paradigm, and then a tiny experience of intentionally living from your Natural Paradigm.