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 are not planning to change things in any way form or fashion.  The old adage comes into play here “If it is not broke then don’t fix it.”  Sometimes we play ostrich just a little too much and do not realize just how crippled something actually is and even though it may not be really broke it may still need fixing.  Paradigms by definition are models that 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, 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 these 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?  What about no till farming?  What about the boll weevil problems for the cotton industry?  Those are areas of an entire other discussion. 


     Let me share with you one neat idea that we have tried in our own operation and found to be fairly effective in deterring the early onset of boll weevil  infestation in our fields.  As we begin the season and the plant begins to put out the second set of leaves, we apply a garlic and fish oil combination.  When they begin to try to eat it has a really bitter flavor and they then move on to the next field for lunch.  Our neighbor close to town in one particular field had sprayed 6 times to our 2 before the fall harvest which he defoliate early to avoid the 7th spraying.  Since then we've established a Boll Weevil Eradication zone and again our paradigms have shifted.  In the life of the eradication program, the progress is truly amazing.  Weekly reports come out of our local office and the results are exciting.  The “traps” as they began were showing 21 weevils per 100 traps – this year, there is approximately 1 weevil to 100 traps.  That is having a mission and attaining our goal ---  eradication of the boll weevil and it is being accomplished within the goal guideline perimeters that were set out at the beginning of the assessment period.


     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 and does so 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  in depth discussion of prioritizing you may reflect back on this page and know that your business partner may have a complete and totally different concept, and you will never know what that is unless you discuss it. I encourage you to do this activity with a group it is always entertaining.  NOW, don’t look ahead for the N.A.S.A. answers – do this on your own.


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