Paradigm Shifts and the
Power of Additional Perspectives
“A mind, once expanded by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Every once in a while we have magical moments when a new idea blossoms in our mind and opens up a whole new world. You have an Aha! Experience …
A paradigm-shifting experience as told by Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute:
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.
Lookout replied, “Steady, captain”, which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advice you change course 20 degrees.”
Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”
The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”
“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”
By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”
Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”
We changed course.