Tag Archives: paradigm shifts

On the topic of paradigm shifts

Transcending the paradigms under which the majority of us train, race, (and generally develop our athleticism) is the most effective way to generate results that wildly outmatch any of our previous expectations of our athletic potential.

Paradigms are our constructed realities: they are the rules by which we are governed. Our paradigms outline which questions are acceptable, and which ones are not. They tell us which sources of information are valid, and which are not, and how we should go about interpreting the information we collect.

Systems thinking scholars suggest that transcending a paradigm—creating a “paradigm shift”—is the most effective way to change the behavior of a system (such as the human body) because it challenges the most basic questions and assumptions on which it is predicated. Necessarily, a new way of viewing the world will lead to the use of new types of information, new strategies, and new outcomes of the behavior of the system, which could have not possibly been foreseen or predicted under the previous paradigm.

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Running, writing, and athletic expression.

It doesn’t serve us to think of running as we generally think of “sports.” Instead, let’s regard running as a form of expression. When we approach an activity we see as a “sport,” we typically ask: “what’s the goal here? Is it to get from A to B as quickly as possible? Is it to get the ball into the net?” And we put our bodies and minds in service of answering that question.

But there’s a problem with that: if we approach a sport with neural, muscular, or skeletal issues (which pretty much all of us westerners have, to one extent or another), our bodies will find ways around those problems for the purpose of achieving the stated goal.

That means that the body will find a less efficient way to conduct mechanical energy through the body, as long as the job gets done. Too much of this and you’ve got yourself an injury.

But suppose that instead we treat running (and other sports) as forms of expression. Then we enter a path of self-discovery, where improvements in speed and power are achieved as a by-product of increasing our efficiency, and our knowledge of the deep principles of our sport.

Continue reading Running, writing, and athletic expression.