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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Problem Solving


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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Research found that people who embrace opposing demands show greater creativity, flexibility, and productivity.

This is called a "paradox mindset" and it can be cultivated.



The Paradox Mindset

Is the willingness to embrace contradictions, and using them to seek new ways forward. eg: Einstein asking how an object can move while being still. Apple, an innovation powerhouse, with a CEO focused on "operational efficiency."

A 2017 study showed the employees who embraced the mindset, who thought it was not just challenging but even a little fun to overcome constraints, were the better performers -- especially where creativityproblem-solving was concerned.

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

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