Here’s a great article from Jim Blasingame, The Small Business Advocate.
One of the most interesting things to observe about humans is how paradoxical we are.
Webster defines paradox as, “a statement or situation that seems contradictory, but may, in fact, be true.”
Paradox isn’t a word that most of us want to apply to ourselves, because it sounds negative. And we sure don’t like dwelling on our negatives — not that we have any — just the good stuff.
But we humans are, in fact, a sometimes flavourful, sometimes bitter, but always spicy Brunswick stew of paradoxes.
Kelle Olwyler, co-author of “Paradoxical Thinking,” says we have aspects of our character that we may view as negative, and consequently, try to eliminate. But here’s a flash: Olwyler’s research shows that these negative aspects are actually just as essential to who we are as the parts of us that we like. Thus the paradox.
Olwyler says, “Eliminating our negatives is like trying to eliminate one side of a pendulum swing.”
She defines paradoxical thinking as, “accepting and valuing our paradoxes, as well as understanding those of people with whom we associate. It’s the process of consciously bringing together our two paradoxical sides to achieve outstanding results.”
Paradoxical thinking actually gives us permission to not hate our negatives. For example:
– If you’re sometimes pushy or aggressive at the wrong time, the other end of that pendulum swing is an outgoing nature that contributes to success in sales.
– Your family may think you’re a work-a-holic, but they also benefit from your efforts.
– Some might consider you unorganized, but you can also see the world differently than your more structured peers.
Focusing only on the negatives of our paradoxes is destructive. Conversely, paradoxical thinking allows us to recognize, value, and manage both sides of the pendulum that makes up who we are. Consider the three previous examples now with paradoxical thinking.
– By recognizing your aggressive tendency, you can learn to channel it appropriately and enjoy the benefits.
– By accepting that you like working, and indeed must work, you and your family can identify ways to accomplish your professional goals in concert with those of the family.
– By getting someone to help you with organization, you can work more productively on things that you can see, but are “outside of the box” for others.
Blasingame’s Unabridged Dictionary defines human paradoxes as, “traits that seem to be at odds, but may, in fact, require each other.” Finally, if you’re having trouble finding your negatives, when you see someone behaving in a way that’s really annoying, the chances are excellent that you do the same thing.
Ouch! This paradoxical thinking can sting a little.
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