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Overwhelmed? Adopt a Paradox Mindset

https://knowledge.insead.edu/leadership-organisations/overwhelmed-adopt-a-paradox-mindset-14026

knowledge.insead.edu

Overwhelmed? Adopt a Paradox Mindset
When resources are scarce, what is the best way to thrive?

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The paradox mindset

The paradox mindset

To adopt a paradox mindset means to consider the world with a “both/and” approach instead of an “either/or” one.

In times of change, uncertainty and scarcity, we need to do many tasks together. And people need to feel comfort with discomfort.

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A paradox mindset can be cultivated

A simple framework to cultivate the paradox mindset :

  • Reframe the situation you're facing. When considering tensions, think in terms of enhancement and enrichment.
  • Accept the tension and develop comfort with the discomfort. With a paradox mindset, acceptance allows for the understanding that these tensions are a natural part of reality, and that we all experience them to a certain extent.
  • Distance yourself and search for new possibilities. We can try to distance ourselves from the problem and connect with others to get a different perspective

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Thinking Like Einstein

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.

The Power Of Conflict

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.

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The paradox of resilience

To overcome adversity, you must rescue yourself first. Your mindset, not the event, defines if you will be ‘rescued’ or not.

Resilience is less about who you are and more about how you thi...

Resilience Principles

  • Challenge: Resilient people turn difficulty into a challenge. They don't fight against reality, they confront it. 
  • Commitment: Having something to fight for gives you extra motivation. 
  • Self-Control: Free will is the realization that you own your actions and control your reactions. 

Build a First Responder Mindset

  • Reframe your thoughts about reality: You can’t control reality, but you can manage how you adapt to it.
  • Prepare for the worst: You can’t train to deal with every possible situation, but you can prepare your mind to adapt to unexpected ones.
  • Create alternative paths: Creativity plays a critical role in overcoming adversity.
  • Leverage the power of relationships: Rescuing yourself from adversity starts with you but strong relationships are critical for bouncing back.
  • Mind your spirit: Religious and spiritual support bring us comfort during adversity.

Geoff Colvin

“The best performers set goals that are not about the outcome but about the process of reaching the outcome.”

Geoff Colvin

The journey is the destination

We never arrive. We work hard to succeed, and then we have to work twice as hard to maintain that success.

It’s a slow grind. And it starts with our mindset.

Don’t rely on your talent

We all have some type of talent, something that sets us apart from the rest of the world. This can also be a potential trap.

Never just rely on your gift or talent alone. Work on your craft. Investigate your weaknesses and make an effort to minimize them.