Personal Paradigms – Your Model of the World and how things work.


Survival is an interesting training ground.

Our capability for survival is based on two aspects:

  1. What we come as-

Arguably, evolution or our core design plays its part and we arrive equipped with some things that make survival more likely. This includes our physical build, our special powers, and our inbuilt routines and behaviours.

  1. What we become –

This second aspect involves all we add to the core design along the way. This includes what we learn along the way that enables us to ‘do better’.

Initially, doing better was all about survival but us humans now have many of the risks to survival under some control. Doing better now encompasses the whole concept of not just surviving but thriving and enjoying the life we have.

Surviving and Thriving

Surviving is about staying alive, uninjured and saving as much of our energy as we can just in case something crops up.

Thriving is about using our energy and resources for stuff beyond survival, for activities and pursuits that we find exciting enjoyable and or rewarding.

We learn how to survive and thrive as we grow up. Parents and helpers teach us how to survive and thrive and we can also learn from our experience.

Slowly, we build all that we know into our own  model of how we think things work.

This model becomes our way of doing things to survive and or thrive. We call it your Personal Paradigm.

Based on our observations over the years, we would say most people have a Paradigm that covers the same core elements found in any generic model of the world..

Often these elements reflect our beliefs, an example could be:

“I believe I can change everything through to I believe I cannot change anything”

As individuals, it is our specific take on each element, where we sit on this belief continuum,  that determines if and how well our models work for us. We call these our belief points. You might consider now where you sit on the example above, you can probably feel already how where you sit your belief point, determines how you go about living your life and how you get the results you get. We saw that that tiny differences (or changes) in belief point creates huge differences in results.

For many of us this ‘choice’ has happened without our conscious awareness and we find time ad agin that people are often shocked and dismayed by what their own version of a model of the world contains, how it determines their performance and how it inevitably controls their results.

The story of Patricia discusses how we can rise above our star sign or core design to learn better ways to get different unexpected results and thrive. Reading stories like this can throw some light on what it is you currently believe or work to. You can find a number of these here

Over the years with delegates of all shapes, sizes, ages, sexes, intelligences and cultures, it became clear that more than any other factor, we can differentiate between the success people enjoy by understanding what they believe about how the world works.

Your way of understanding how the world works, goes on to determine your thinking, beliefs, actions ad your subsequent results more than any other factor or combination of factors.

Once you have your Monkey onside, understanding and tuning your model of the world to meet your real needs is the fastest way to alter your life story and your success level,


What’s in a model?

We all seem to operate with a notion of how things are and how it all works. This encompasses a range of elements that help us make sense of what goes in and operate efficiently in our environment.

This would include:

  • Our basic rules and relationships between stimulus and response and cause and effect.
  • Our ideas on predictability.
  • Our notions on randomness.

For example, we believe with a certainty that gravity is ‘real’ and so if we drop something, we expect it to fall to earth. Similarly, if we eat less and move more, we also expect to lose body weight although we may have less certainty than we do with gravity.

We may also think if we are ‘nice to’ the partner we want to stay with, then they will be ‘nice to’ us but some of us have learnt the hard way that this doesn’t always follow.

We might also expect these models to be the place where our beliefs sit.

  • “If I work hard, it will all be all right in the end.”
  • “Better to stop and think than work hard all day at the wrong thing.”
  • “Only mugs do more than they have to.”
  • It’s always worth going the extra mile.”

We collect a range of elements like these, maybe it’s gravity or the ‘nice to rules’ and mould them into our model.

Some of these things we expect to always happen. 

 There is a group of elements that we could loosely call ‘first principles’ or universally accepted truths. These are elements which constitute high probability links that most of us would accept as true. Gravity is one of these; so is the idea of the sun rising every day. These elements are predictable and reliable so we can include in our own model of how things work with a high degree of confidence.

However, there are also some of these universally accepted truths that were either never true or have become outdated and no longer give us the predictability we seek. The purpose of writing the book ‘The Misaligned Monkey’ was to challenge one of these.

Find The Misaligned Monkey here

A complete model?

Unfortunately, a complete model of the world also has to include some elements we are not so sure of.

Elements like the ‘nice to’ rules. Many of these required elements are less predictable or not even predictable at all.

The necessary inclusion of these types of elements means any successful model has to include elements that allow us to understand and accept that control is not always an option such as beliefs like:

  • “It’s ok for things to surprise you”
  • “Failure is feedback”
  • “Things come to he who waits”
  • “Men of integrity keep their mouths shut and wait for time to prove them right”

A good model helps you decide or choose and then react effectively to whatever results emerge.

Our model covers our expectations of the links (or not) between cause and effect, stimulus and response. It determines the choices we make and the results we get and then how we interpret these results and subsequently react – learning, patience, or sulking. Joes Cliff 2020

Our expectations and our results determine our subsequent reactions as things play out.

Some of our short stories help us consider the elements we need to include and the parameters of the element There a couple of links to them as we go on –

The White Horse shows us how things are not always what they seem…

Making sure your expectations are valid and reasonable makes everything simpler and less emotional.

The model we hold generates a collection of expectations, ideas about the results we ‘should’ get or are ‘likely’ to get based on circumstance and how we choose to behave.

Personal Paradigms


Different people different Models of the World 

Our experience is that there are many similarities between the models of how the world works that people come up with.

This is partly because we share the same experiences. Partly because we share the same common wisdom and also increasingly, because we  share opinions and beliefs manufactured by those who are trying to influence us. .


It took a lot of advertising to convince us to buy water in plastic bottles.

In addition to sharing experiences together, we also share and adopt what we might call ‘Group

Think,’ the common wisdom that we hold as a group we belong to. It could be the group is a

nation, a religion, a football club, a meditation class or even a group of people who refuse inoculation for a pandemic.

Any group of people who share similar approaches and views.

It’s the easy way out to accept what other people accept:

“Everyone knows that we need meat to survive.”

“Everyone knows you can’t run a mile in less than 4 minutes.”

“Everyone knows that you get a job and work till you are 60.”

Not only is it easy to run with the views of others but it also means we don’t rock the boat and get any adverse reactions from trying new things that our group doesn’t approve of.

Crabs in a basket  conform or not ……

Each of us has teh opportunity to combine a whole series of these rules or beliefs to generate our own unique version or paradigm of how things work.

This individual version of the model that explains to us how the world works and how we can interact with it.What differentiates your model and creates your own personal paradigm is based on what you learn from your own unique experiences and the results of any analysis and processing you do regarding your life. This is not a popular pastime and it’s not surprising than many of the delegates we met were just running with the same model as everyone else. A  model that was not tuned to their own aspirations, circumstances or uniqueness. A model that would not help them get anywhere special.

Why do we need a model?

Each of us makes hundreds of decisions every day and these subconscious models usually help us make sense of things and move on quickly and safely to something else.

Some of us consciously evaluate our models, what’s in them how useful they are and then modify and discard them if they don’t suit us.

For some, this becomes a highly developed and tested model that routinely delivers results, for others it is a vague sense of how or why things are the way they are.

Think Elon Musk and his use of first principles.

There are a number of key elements that are included in an effective personal paradigm. These elements and the results we subsequently experience, affect how we feel, how we perform and are instrumental in driving the choices we make and the challenges we accept.

If we believe ‘good things happen to people who try’ or ‘all things are possible’ then we tend to dream bigger than those who don’t think the world works like this.


Some of us like stories when they reflect the elements we have accepted within our personal paradigms. They make us feel comfortable, safe and secure in our own world and yet, perhaps the value of a really good story, is to provide the opportunity to uncover paradigm elements that might not be working in our favour and to challenge or test them.

Sales Academy Ltd

Based on conversations and observations with thousands of delegates, we have noticed a number of elements in personal paradigms that work.

Understanding what these are will help you check how your model of the world holds up to scrutiny. Our books are designed and written using what we have learnt to help you do this.

How it works for you is all that matters.

Our experience is that your current performance arises more from your Personal Paradigm than if you are good, smart, lucky or choose your own variant.

Having a model that routinely helps us choose well and allows a degree of reliable prediction regarding outcomes or consequences is a high value asset.

Model Development

We tend to build our models organically as we grow up, often with little or no thought or scrutiny about them.

As a result, close examination of the model and the rules you work by can often shock you.

Your model has almost certainly evolved to include beliefs and rules / relationships that you know are false or at least dubious.

This article raises some questions that can really show a light on your current performance levels and how you feel about them:

  1. Where did your model come from?
  2. What elements are in your model?
  3. Do you agree with the elements your model uses?
  4. What elements in your model are as strong as first principles?
  5. Which elements in your model have less than first principle reliability?
  6. When you use them do you know what this means for predictability and certainty of results?
  7. How does understanding this help you make better choices?
  8. How does understanding this equip you to deal with your results in a better way?

The follow up book to the Misaligned Monkey is The Misaligned Model – How to identify and tweak for better results…. due for launch later in 2022


See our book shelf for more information on elements, stories and availability.