For the first 4,000 years of recorded human history, everyone agreed that the sun and the other plants — revolved around the earth. It wasn’t until about 1000 AD, when a handful of scientists began to challenge this idea and argued that the earth was one of a handful of planets that revolved around a star we call the sun.

This shift in paradigms radically altered the way we thought about our place in the universe and changed the way we interpreted vast amounts of information in the known world.

Today, we all believe in a set of paradigms that influence how we interpret our environment. These beliefs impact where we live, how we vote, the purchases we make and the people we choose as friends. They are typically developed over a long period of time and are difficult to change.

Consider politics for example.

At some point in our lives, most of us started believing that one political ideology was superior to the others. This “paradigm” has continued to be strengthened throughout our lives because we filter all information about the world through our ideological lens (also known as living in an echo chamber).

If you lean right, you probably watch Fox News, distrust big government, and assume that everything Hilary Clinton has ever said is a complete fabrication. The other side of the spectrum is glued to MSNBC and convinced that the rich are taking advantage of everybody else.

As a paradigm becomes more entrenched, the possibility of considering another viewpoint never even enters your mind. You become convinced that anyone who disagrees is a complete idiot and or simply doesn’t understand the issue.

Unfortunately, taking this approach with any issue/idea, dulls your curiosity and reduces your interest in learning anything new. Conversely, an inquisitive mind, open to change and challenging paradigms, is focused on constant improvement. This focus often leads to a positive change in behavior.

In other words, if you’re interested in meaningful personal development, you’d better be prepared to walk away from some long-standing beliefs and open your mind to new and different viewpoints.