The Truths Of The World Lie In Paradox


I’ve written recently about the convergence of dualities that’s happening all across the world, and this understanding is profound and huge and important.

But I’ve come to believe the ability to hold a paradoxical tension in our minds is just as important as recognizing it at a macro scale.

The best (or we could say most helpful) behaviors seem to stem from an inclusive perspective.

Not either/or, but both/and.

The examples I gave in the dualities post apply here as well. An individual mindset which can bring together what seems like polarizing viewpoints (Eastern/Western, masculine/feminine, individualistic/familial, left brain/right brain) actually performs better, particularly in the world that is emerging.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” I’ll take it a step further: I am claiming that this ability actually makes an individual more valuable in the new economy.

Because of the ways in which the world is changing, if we wish to thrive — or even just compete — in the new economy, our mindset must evolve as well.

Here are a few more practical examples of paradoxical thinking.

Everyone is unusual (we all have utterly unique strengths), but at the same time we are all the same (we are all human beings). The truth is in the tension. It’s not either/or. When managers begin to grasp this, they quickly become the type of leader people want to follow.

Something like “impact” doesn’t even occur in pure dualities. We can’t have the impact we want on anything — there are many things outside of our control — but at the same time we truly can impact the world around us. We don’t have complete control over what happens, but we do have power over certain things which lie within our sphere of influence. The most helpful perspective lies in being able to retain both thoughts, not one or the other. When we begin to understand this, we gain a sense of freedom and power in our ability to make choices.

The truths of the world around us lie somewhere within these paradoxes. It will benefit us greatly if we can find a way to embrace the tension.


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The Future Of Coaching


There’s a cottage industry called “coaching” that’s sprung up over the last few decades (it’s quite a large cottage, but still).

On the surface there’s nothing wrong with this.

But I have come to believe that the fact this industry exists at all is an indication of a dirty and not-so-little business secret…



P.S. We’ve got the beginnings of a great dialogue in the comments section — come and add your thoughts!


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Artistry & The Power Of Choice


Something I love about artists is that they recognize the power of choice.

Whether the art is writing, painting, music, filmmaking, visual, or otherwise, there is a power inherent in designing something, and that power can be summed up in that the artist has deliberately made a decision to choose one thing over another.

A book title lists “13 things one needs to know” instead of 12.

A song lyric uses the word “like” instead of “love.”

A painter picks red instead of blue.

From an outsider’s view, these things may seem trivial. But from an artist’s perspective, these choices are incredibly meaningful. In fact, they may actually be the most important thing, because without the power of choice, an artist wouldn’t be able to make art at all.

And so it is with all of us. We are all artists, painting our life’s canvas with the colors we choose. It’s just that we often think we’re not choosing, though we always are.

Sometimes we even believe we’re not true artists… which is perhaps the biggest lie of all.


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