… it is paradoxical,” said a philosophy professor as he addressed his class. In fact, each time he started the class he reminded them of that view, according to Alan Lurie. He elaborated, “It must be internally self-contradictory in order to be true.”
Finally a math professor heard about about this and walked into the class one day, just before it got started and asked, “Sir, do you really believe that all truth is based on paradox?”
The philosophy professor scratched his head then answered, “Well, yes… and no.”
“Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world. Look at something and think what else it might be.” ~ Roger von Oech
In tumultuous times of change – like now - the capacity to hold two apparently contradictory perceptions is not only helpful.
Sometimes it is vital or you‘ll get swept under the wheel of change rather than ride on top of it. Lurie notes that Charles Darwin said, ”It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
"Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality." ~ Theodor Adorno
At this point it probably would not surprise you to know that Lurie is a rabbi but it might startle you to know that he is also a Realtor. After accidentally running into the CEO of Grubb-Ellis three times, each encounter in uncomfortable circumstances, Lurie was asked to join the firm and to deliver brief messages to the hard-driving Realtors in the New York office at their Monday meetings. He spoke on purpose, peace and fulfillment at work.
When faced with apparent contradictions where you must make a decision, Lurie suggests these steps ….
Have the confidence to:
1. Look at your situation as honestly as possible.
2. Assess where previously held beliefs and actions are keeping you from growing.
3. Muster the strength to implement a new course of action.
To take these steps, “we become conscious of our internal mental dialogue, and challenge fear-based assumptions against reality. If different action is needed, we will then respond based on information, not reactionary fear.”
That is easier said than done.
To face those fears and make wise choices Tim Ferriss says, “Define your fears instead of your goals.” His approach has proved powerfully helpful for me just this week. (Want to learn more about how we are nudged or swayed?)