Your power is limited only by your understanding and observance of natural law and correct principles and by the natural consequences of the principles themselves. You become a self-aware, knowledgeable, proactive individual, largely unrestricted by the attitudes, behaviors, or actions of others. Your ability to act reaches far beyond your own resources and encourages highly developed levels of interdependency. Your decisions and actions are not driven by your current financial or circumstantial limitations. You experience an interdependent freedom. Remember that your paradigm is the source from which your attitudes and behaviors flow. A paradigm is like a pair of glasses; it affects the way you see everything in your life. If you look at things through the paradigm of correct principles, what you see in life is dramatically different from what you see through any other centered paradigm. I have included in the Appendix section of this book a detailed chart which shows how each center we've discussed might possibly affect the way you see everything else. But for a quick understanding of the difference your center makes, let's look at just one example of a specific problem as seen through the different paradigms. As you read, try to put on each pair of glasses. Try to feel the response that flows from the different centers. Suppose tonight you have invited your wife to go to a concert. You have the tickets; she's excited about going. It's four o'clock in the afternoon. All of a sudden, your boss calls you into his office and says he needs your help through the evening to get ready for an important meeting at 9 A.M. tomorrow. If you're looking through spouse-centered or family-centered glasses, your main concern will be your wife. You may tell the boss you can't stay and you take her to the concert in an effort to please her. You may feel you have to stay to protect your job, but you'll do so grudgingly, anxious about her response, trying to justify your decision and protect yourself from her disappointment or anger. If you're looking through a money-centered lens, your main thought will be of the overtime you'll get or the influence working late will have on a potential raise. You may call your wife and simply tell her you have to stay, assuming she'll understand that economic demands come first. If you're work-centered, you may be thinking of the opportunity. You can learn more about the job. You can make some points with the boss and further your career. You may give yourself a pat on the back for putting hours well beyond what is required, evidence of what a hard worker you are. Your wife should be proud of you! If you're possession-centered, you might be thinking of the things the overtime income could buy. Or you might consider what an asset to your reputation at the office it would be if you stayed. Everyone would hear tomorrow how noble, how sacrificing and dedicated you are. 76 If you're pleasure-centered, you'll probably can the work and go to the concert, even if your wife would be happy for you to work late. You deserve a night out! If you're friend-centered, your decision would be influenced by whether or not you had invited friends to attend the concert with you. Or whether your friends at work were going to stay late, too. If you're enemy-centered, you may stay late because you know it will give you a big edge over that person in the office who thinks he's the company's greatest asset. While he's off having fun, you'll be working and slaving, doing his work and yours, sacrificing your personal pleasure for the good of the company he can so blithely ignore. If you're church-centered, you might be influenced by plans other church members have to attend the concert, by whether or not any church members work at your office, or by the nature of the concert -- Handel's Messiah might rate higher in priority than a rock concert. Your decision might also be affected by what you think a "good church member" would do and by whether you view the extra work as "service" or "seeking after material wealth." If you're self-centered, you'll be focused on what will do you the most good. Would it be better for you to go out for the evening? Or would it be better for you to make a few points with the boss? How the different options affect you will be your main concern. As we consider various ways of looking at a single event, is it any wonder that we have "young lady/old lady" perception problems in our interactions with each other? Can you see how fundamentally our centers affect us? Right down to our motivations, our daily decisions, our actions (or, in too many cases, our reactions), our interpretations of events? That's why understanding your own center is so important. And if that center does not empower you as a proactive person, it becomes fundamental to your effectiveness to make the necessary Paradigm Shifts to create a center that will. As a principle-centered person, you try to stand apart from the emotion of the situation and from other factors that would act on you, and evaluate the option. Looking at the balanced whole -- the work needs, the family needs, other needs that may be involved and the possible implications of the various alternative decisions -- you'll try to come up with the best solution, taking all factors into consideration. Whether you go to the concert or stay and work is really a small part of an effective decision. You might make the same choice with a number of other centers. But there are several important differences when you are coming from a principle-centered paradigm. First, you are not being acted upon by other people or circumstances. You are proactively choosing what you determine to be the best alternative. You make your decisions consciously and knowledgeably. Second, you know your decision is most effective because it is based on principles with predictable long-term results. Third, what you choose to do contributes to your ultimate values in life. Staying at work to get the edge on someone at the office is an entirely different evening in your life from staying because you value your boss's effectiveness and you genuinely want to contribute to the company's welfare. The experiences you have as you carry out your decisions take on quality and meaning in the context of your life as a whole. 77 Fourth, you can communicate to your wife and your boss within strong networks you've created in your interdependent relationships. Because you are independent, you can be effectively interdependent. You might decide to delegate what is delegable and come in early the next morning to do the rest. And finally, you'll feel comfortable about your decision. Whatever you choose to do, you can focus on it and enjoy it. As a principle-centered person, you see things differently. And because you see things differently, you think differently, you act differently. Because you have a high degree of security, guidance, wisdom, and power that flows from a solid, unchanging core, you have the foundation of a highly proactive and highly effective life.