Everything is too much for us to know consciously.

Life the Universe Everything

Knowing is a mixture of noticing or using effectively

  • Noticing can be described as conscious awareness
  • Using can be described as our competence in a given area

We could see everything like an iceberg. We could see it floating in the sea with a small part of it poking up above the surface into the air.

We could easily imagine the sea representing our unconscious and the air our consciousness.

There is more stuff we don’t consciously notice in this moment than stuff we do.

We can understand this from two viewpoints

1 There is a lot of stuff going on in everything – more than we can consciously appreciate in one moment

2 We need to survive and thrive – it’s not good looking at the sky and missing the poisonous snake we are about to tread on.

This happens because we focus consciously or unconsciously on the important stuff, this begs a couple of questions:

So how do we decide what to focus on?

Is it even us who decides?

Let’s look again at what this means in practice –

We can be conscious of stuff we know about and also conscious that some stuff is there that we don’t know about. I am conscious of the nature of these models I am describing and where this piece of writing starts and ends.

I am also conscious of the fact that somethings exist that I don’t know much about – Quantum Physics for example.

In this moment we are also unconscious of some of the stuff we are aware of – ask me about the feel of the chair on my sit bones and I can now focus there and tell you all about it. Before you asked …….

I am conscious in this moment of the stuff I am focusing on – me choosing these words carefully to lay out this idea.

As I focus more on these words, I lose conscious awareness of other things, like time passing or my increasing hunger or thirst.

I am not consciously aware of everything all the time and this reinforces my belief that I only have so much capacity for focussing.

As I think about this more, the question of how the focus comes about begins to surface.

If I focus on the nature of my focussing, it’s reasonably simple to see this as a conscious awareness of a very thin slice of everything that exists all around me.

The more I focus on the details the less breadth I experience.

The less I focus on the details the more breadth I experience

If I have a new experience, I can witness my focus change and even target something I knew nothing about or was not consciously aware of before.

There is much that is going on that I have no conscious awareness of.

Models that describe this

Johari variant

KOLB variant

See it as a line

See it as a circle with us in it

Aware of most things but conscious of only a few

Able to shift consciousness across the awareness at will

How is your focus driven?

Is it by you?

Is by something else?

Is it aligned to suit you?

If not, you are being distracted

Distraction can be external or internal

External stimuli which may include events people circumstances

Internal stimuli which may include thoughts sensations feelings goals desires

Most of us can accept that there is more going on than we know about. Even the parts of it that we know about are filtered because we have a limited ability to focus.

Focussing reduces our conscious awareness of what is and we can’t ‘see the wood itself for all the trees within it.’

This is all written using some logic and once it’s there to see we all know this is a reasonable representation of what we experience day to day.

Once we get to a reasonable explanation of how things work, we can build this into a working Paradigm of how things work for us as individuals. One thing we learnt from our work with thousands of delegates globally is that each of us has our own approach and each of us needs to do success in our own unique way.

Of course, by now, all of us already have a view of how things work.

These are usually built as part of a normal maturation process. Driven by our interpretation of our experiences, this happens largely unconsciously and without conscious appraisal.

As Sales Academy we worked with thousands of people globally. Most of the delegates we met had never consciously evaluated the effectiveness and suitability of their own Paradigm.

The acquisition and maintenance of an effective Personal Paradigm that represents how you think the world works and that you can use to help you have the life you want underpins the secret of your success. It is the number one priority because the success of anything else you ‘try’ rests on this.

The Paradigm each of us must build takes into account who we are and our own circumstances. It represents our view of the world and how things work. It’s something we use constantly without thinking, to make the choices decision and plans that we think will give us the life we want. You can’t do this by copying a guru or running with the latest fashion.

Although we each require our own unique Paradigm, the good news is that all Paradigms need to cover some common bases to enable us to operate effectively. They may also contain similar truths, the ‘first principles’ or ‘models’ that other humans have tested for us.

Truths we can use with a degree of certainty to understand and predict reliably what is really going on and what will happen if we take a particular action.

These core building blocks can allow us to check or fabricate critical areas of our Personal Paradigm quickly and effectively.

The implications of this assessment have enormous ramifications for how we live and how we succeed and forms the basis for the secret of your success.

Our mission is to help you unpick what this means for you and help you to build your own Paradigm that you can use to have the life you really want.


The Secret of your success

As with most secrets the answer is often disappointingly simple. Often too simple for well meaning individuals to accept.

More complicated answers are somehow more acceptable they justify why we have not yet done it. Unfortunately they often waste our time and leave us largely in the same place albeit slightly more disillusioned.

Thats not going to happen here – use what we have to win however you describe it –

Look around at the successful people

Are all of them really brighter taller better looking than you ?

The answers No

Are all of them better educated, better or worse backgrounds?

The answers still No

Over 25 years we worked with thousands of relatively normal people studying what made some successful others apparent failures and most just average.

The underpinning secret about success is to do with  Personal Paradigms and most of us don’t even know we have one.

Definition of a paradigm

Macmillan blog Definition

  1. a typical example or model of something
    2. a set of ideas that are used for understanding or explaining something, especially in a particular subject
    3. the complete set of the different forms of a word, for example student, student’s, students and students’

We can see a paradigm as our view of how things work now.

Since the early 1970s, the application of the concept of paradigm shift has become increasingly common:

“A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when scientists encounter anomalies which cannot be explained by the universally accepted paradigm and the scientific discipline is thrown into a state of crisis. New ideas, perhaps ones previously discarded, are tried. An intellectual ‘battle’ takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm. After a given discipline has changed from one paradigm to another, this is called, in Kuhn’s terminology, a scientific revolution or a paradigm shift.” Research Journal of Social Sciences. 2008: The influence of the dominant linguistic paradigm on language teaching (2).

“A new treatment for advanced skin cancer has been hailed as a paradigm shiftafter it boosted one year survival chances from just one in ten to almost three in four.” Telegraph. 3rd June 2014: New skin cancer drug hailed “paradigm shift”in treatment (2).

“‘It is often assumed that different types of jellyfish [stings] might need different treatments,’ said Dr Tom Doyle from the National University of Ireland, Galway. ‘Well, that was the old paradigm. What we, NUI Galway and University of Hawaii, have shown is that vinegar and hot water is the best treatment for [stings by] three very different jellyfish that are as different from each other as a dog and a snake — the Lion’s Mane, the Portuguese Man of War and a Box jellyfish.’” BBC. 27th July 2017: Irish scientists test best way to treat jellyfish stings (1) (2).

If we are bright we know that things change and our paradigms need to change to keep up – here lies the issue that holds most of us back

Our paradigm contains a series of different elements. It’s  the model we have developed over time to survive and or thrive in the environment we find ourselves in.

Imagine yourself beamed down to earth 10 000 years ago

You are alone its cold and you have nothing

Your first consideration would be warmth then perhaps food or water depending on your immediate needs. Then when these immediate needs are covered you might start to notice other dangers and strive for shelter or more security. If you survived and achieved ticks in all these boxes you might start thing about some company or some grander plans fro the future it all depends on you and what floats your boat.

My thanks to Abraham Maslow the father of most motivation theory and worth a read if you don’t know what makes you or your contacts do what they do –

Survive and thrive


Thousands of years ago winter killed many of us. At some point we began to store food in summer for the inevitable winters that followed less of us died.


We began to work in bigger groups and to start herding or even farming so we didn’t have to roam constantly to find new food. In communities we began to develop trade, specialisms, identity’s and cultures. More of us survived, we lived longer learnt more and passed it on and began to develop faster as groups and as a species.

The basic success plan that fits us all – 

  • Step one – survive
  • Step two – kick some ass

You will notice this starts with what

We might get onto why and even how all still party of the paradigm but like all successful endeavour we start with the end in mind and fill in details later.

Your paradigm is fundamental in determining if you survive or thrive. It even determines what success means for you not just how you go about it or whether you will win or not. It is there whether you know about it or not, whether you manage it or not and whether you consciously work with it or not.

Our Paradigm is a model of how the world works. It contains a number of elements which we use to make senses of the world we find ourselves in and its allowed use (or not)  to then make good choices and decisions that enable us to survive and thrive.

  • We have them as a species and share many often same elements and approaches.
    • Look after the babies as the babies are the future 
  • If we are part of a group or a tribe, we have them and these add or replace species paradigm to help our tribe survive and thrive
    • Look after our babies more
  • Finally, we have them as individuals these add or replace elements from our tribe or species paradigm to help us survive or thrive as an individual.
    • Look after my baby most 

Within these paradigms are the road maps for how we navigate simple obvious truths and more complex moral and ethical dilemmas. Much of our navigation is done without conscious thought.

Some of these elements are proven by science.

Gravity is a good first principle to include. Generally speaking if something is dropped we are reasonably certain it will fall to earth.

Some proven by experience. 

I know George is always late. I may not be as certain of this as I am about gravity but its a good basis to work on most of the time.

Some serve us well others not so well. Some are current and represent best practice.  Some could be described as ‘hang ons’ ideas approaches, some well past their ‘sell by date’ and no longer appropriate in the current world we experience.

The paradigms held by us represent our commonality and our differences; they are a source of both strength and potential weakness.

Different groups i.e., nations may hold different paradigms consisting of the priority and content of their elements. It takes only a moment to see how we differ in our attitudes to work, to money, to the environment or to religion.

As individuals our ideas on roles and responsibility within society vary. Some think it’s ok to have a business preying off the herd others don’t.

Differences provide us with a chance to examine, reaffirming or change the elements of our own paradigm and when cultures  clash, which is basically the paradigm crashing, we either grow or go to war.

How understanding your paradigm frees your success.

Even when we isolate the element and look at it together, we notice that our paradigms even vary in terms of how best to look at or evaluate the difference. From logic to gut feel, pragmatic realism to religion we see nice people who try to be good, arguing about how things are and how they should be addressed. How we do things varies from the approach of others and its is our paradigm that also has responsibility for this.

Much of the paradigm we hold has been built unconsciously and automatically through watching others in our group. Learning from what goes well or what goes badly or incorporating what we must to avoid censure.

Much of it is only visible in brief moments when its relevance is escalated. Most of it has not been consciously added to enable us to achieve the life we want.

After watching thousands of delegates over 25 years it looks to us like most people hold a paradigm of how the world works that simply and tragically does not suit their stated purpose.

Questions help us see what lies beneath:

  1. Are we as a species ‘top of the food chain’, ‘lord or lady over all other life and the planet itself’ or are we simple part of a delicate eco system that we have the capacity to destroy?
  2. Should we enjoy today with no thought of the future or should we start to build a cathedral a wall in china that we will never see completed.
  3. Napoleons’ trees …..
  4. If we can treat a 95 year old should we ?
  5. If we can save a baby no matter what should we?
  6. Is being rich a measure of success?
  7. Is being fit a measure of success?
  8. Is being kind a measure of success?

We have views on so many topics. Many we didn’t know we had and this is the point.

The paradigm is huge and it covers everything we see everything we see, say and do and to do its job properly and save us from the onslaught of every day choices it operates largely without our knowledge .

It sits there like an automatic survival system allowing us to pay attention elsewhere safe in the knowledge that much of the legwork is done.


We have much of what our ancestors have seemingly to inherit and develop early much of what makes us who we are.

Many of us grow up to challenge our parents approaches but end up living similar lives when assessed in the broader dimensions.

Many of us regularly do things that don’t take us where we say we want to go.

We eat instead of training. We train instead of meeting potential friends and partners. We save money and deprive ourselves or we spend what we don’t have and remain forever in debt to someone else.

Most of the delegates we met were simply not doing what they needed to do to have the life they said they wanted.

Most of them did not realise this consciously until we sat down and spoke. Once they had seen it they could easily change some things to get more of what they wanted and less of what they didn’t want.

The ones that stuck to these changes over time were the ones who modified their paradigm to include embrace the changes they wanted and any new ways of working that were involved.

Within the site we will share stories , tools techniques and questions that will enable you to decide

  • how / if your paradigm serves you now
  • where it needs modification
  • how to develop your paradigm to suit you an date times you operate in

Here’s the thing

You have a paradigm that is there to help you thrive in this world.

Its largely inherited or automatically and unconsciously developed

It’s unlikely you have evaluated it consciously and even more unlikely that you have chosen what is in it.

It’s likely that you would be able to make it more effective with minimal work

Unless you do this all your other efforts will fail.