Often we have a story about ourselves and others that’s about things being one way or the other.
We’re good at something or bad at something.
We’re successful or a failure.
We’re right or wrong.
All or nothing thinking is also known as polarized thinking. Our brain likes to create unambiguous categories because it’s efficient and predictable so we tend to force ourselves and others into categories that don’t exist.
Carl Jung was at the forefront of the paradox and thought it was one of our most valuable spiritual resources. He said that only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehend the fullness of life.
Paradox is both/and. It’s the ability to straddle contradictory beliefs, attitudes and feelings without having to think it’s this or that. It’s recognizing that we all have polarities such as a desire for commitment and also freedom, togetherness and also independence as well as safety and also excitement.
When we recognize polarity it allows us to see complexity. I love the paradox as a mental gym tool because it allows us to see where we pigeonhole ourselves and other people. It’s the secret sauce to high performance because it allows us to see our assumptions (warning it can be incredibly eye-opening to see how many of them we make in a day) and that opens us up to new perspectives about ourselves, our capabilities and other people.
– Coach Liane