One of the hardest things that we face as we get older is CHANGE. We each have paradigms of how things should be and we have no intentions of changing these in any way, form, or fashion. The old adage comes into play here, “If it is not broke, then don’t fix it.” Like Jim, sometimes we play ostrich just a little too much and do not realize just how crippled something actually is. Even though it may not be really broke, it may still need fixing. PARADIGMS, by definition, are models which are set up that we all follow. Paradigms are common; we use them each and every day in our lives. They are useful; they show importance and help us to focus our attention to the project at hand. Many times people not closely associated with us create new paradigms for us and are helpful to us. Paradigms help us to establish boundaries and are very helpful in solving problems within those boundaries. Whenever a paradigm shifts, everyone and everything goes back to square one or position zero.

Many of us are plagued with the disease of CERTAINTY. We are certain it will not work. We have not tried it, but we are certain it will not work because we have a preconceived idea in our brain that will not allow any other data to filter in. You see what you think you are supposed to see – not what you actually see. Researchers have to overcome many paradigms because they must look at exactly the data that appears in front of them and not what they think should be there. Many times we are that way in our every day worlds. We are not willing to think about the changes that may need to come our way because we do not want to deal with it.

We all live in a changing world. Our relationships change from day to day. Our business world is in a constant state of change. We are remote from a lot of the world, in the agriculture communities that we live in. Therefore, we are slower to change and slower to accept the changes of others around us. But there is change none-the-less in the marketing world of our products today. How has it changed in the last 2 years, or 5 years, or 10 years? How many of you forward contract your crops? What about farming practices, how have they changed? Have you tried any of the new ones in your area? What about minimum till planting for row crops? Is someone in your area trying this new technique? What about narrow row planting? Or no till farming? What about the boll weevil problems for the cotton industry? If you are involved in animal production, have you considered the timing in your breeding program? Totally effecting the crop outcome. What about diseases in your area? Are you actively aware and confronting those issues? What about food for the upcoming seasons ahead? Are there ample supplies on hand or is it attainable at a cost and still be profitable? Those are areas for an entire discussion.

To show you preconceived ideas and the way that each of us thinks things should be, we are going to do a fun exercise that I think exemplifies the fact that each and every one of us perceives the same situation in a different manner. This is strictly for fun and I think you may find it a bit humorous and hopefully if will show you what we have been talking about. When we begin our indepth discussion of prioritizing, you may reflect back on this page and know that your business partner may have a complete and totally different concept. You will never know what that may be unless you discuss it. I encourage you to do this activity with a group as it is always entertaining. NOW, don’t look ahead for the N.A.S.A. answers – do this on your own.