The art of the paradox

February 28, 2009 / by Michael K. Redman


How can two things that appear to be opposites or at least apposed both be true?  I don't know... but when they are we call it a paradox and if you want to be successful in business and in life you need to be able to live with Paradox's. 

We see Paradoxes all around us, here are a few examples:

  • Grace and Truth
  • Free will and Destiny
  • Old ideas and new ideas

A paradox is something that really troubles us.  We look at it and say, "They both can't be true", but they are.  The most common problem we find ourselves in is we think we have to choose between two concepts and many times we don't.  It's not “either” but “both”.  The mother is being kind when she disciplines her child for doing something wrong but the child doesn't think so.  To an adult discipline and kindness can both be true but the child says it's either one or the other.  You’re either being kind or you’re disciplining me.

When the Tech Boom happened in the late 90's everyone was saying that the OLD Business Rules were gone and the New Business Rules were here, Either/Or.  Then the Tech Crash Happened and the business world said that the old business rules still worked and Tech companies were bad.  Well business is business and we still must create customers and innovate, bring in more money than we spend, etc.  We still have business rules that are really old but we have new expressions of business that are definitely new.

So here is why I think it is important.  If you don't know how to hold a paradox then you can get swept away and tossed from here to there in your business because the crowed is changing there mind every few moments.  If you can hold a paradox then maybe the waves won’t get you.

Can you hold a Paradox and do you understand the value?

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