In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor tells a most interesting story of ‘the African Unicorn’. British traders in the 19th century had found ancient Egyptian carvings and writings of this half-zebra, half-giraffe. They declared it to be a mythical creature as it was a biological impossibility. However, people from the Congo basin insisted that they had seen such an animal in the deep forests. Western biologists found this laughable and put it down to the ignorance and superstition of the ‘natives’.
When Sir Harry Johnston in 1901, an interprid explorer, came upon some pygmy natives caputred by a German explorer. He intervened on behalf of the pymies and paid for their freedom. In gratitude, the pygmies gave him pelts and skulls of the ‘unicorn’. However, the scientific community scoffed at Sir Johnston even when he insisted that he had seen the tracks of these animals.
But in 1918, a live Okapi was captured in the wild. And a decade later, the first okapi – a cross between a giraffe and a zebra – was successfully mated in Antwerp. These days, the ‘mythical’ creature is quite a common sight in zoos around the world.
Isn’t this beautiful creature such a brilliant example of a paradigm shift?
Making A Paradigm Shift
Earlier this week, I had a paradigm shift. Our neighbour’s driver is always hanging around our colony trying to find people to chat up with. Times without number I’ve seen his employer having to go looking for him. And the couple of times, I’ve interacted with him, I’ve found his behaviour a little odd. I grumbled about him although he had nothing to do with my life. Then on Monday, our maid told me that this guy had spoken to her the day before, telling her that he hadn’t come to work the previous day because it was his daughter’s 15th birthday. Six months earlier, she had a fall while playing in school and died instantly! When my maid told me this, I was so humbled. I completely understood his reason to talk incessantly. It’s his way of coping.
Change. That’s what a paradigm shift involves. Looking at something with new eyes. Allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable. Because change means stepping outside our comfort zones and seeing things from a whole new perspective.
It’s worth it. If you’re willing to change, you might actually see a unicorn! 😉