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Reflecting on apparent contradictions can break down our assumptions and offer us new ways of looking at problems.
Psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg noted that each revolutionary thinker had spent time actively thinking of multiple opposites simultaneously. For example, Einstein considered how an object could be both at rest and moving depending on the position of the observer. This led to his relativity theory.
Studies have shown that "paradoxical cognition" can help average thinkers to solve everyday problems.
Researchers demonstrated that people that have to reflect on apparently paradoxical goals, such as minimizing costs and maximizing innovation, are more creative than those who only consider one goal or the other.
We can note any paradoxes we encounter and then make a point of contemplating them before we try to solve it.
Your own job may already contain contradictory goals that could inspire paradoxical cognition. Previously, you may have assumed that you need to abandon one of the goals, but now you might spend more time considering the ways you can pursue them both, simultaneously.
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Sometimes a teammate needs a warm hug. Sometimes the team needs a visionary, a new style of coaching, someone to lead the way or even, on occasion, a kick in the bike shorts.
For that reason, great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club, with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand, the end goal and the best tool for the job.