Paradox lies at the heart of creativity
The tension between seeming polar opposites
creates a spark
that lights the fire of innovation
Innovative organizations embrace paradox.
- They set high standards and have a tolerance for failure
- value playful chaos and forced discipline
- They balance a commitment to change with a healthy respect for stability
Here’s the challenge: Managing uncertainty and ambiguity isn’t easy. We are hardwired with a desire to know what to expect, and when to expect it. We want resolution. T.S. Eliot expressed it perfectly when he said,
“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity”
So how do we shift from “either / or” (a need to know) to “yes, and” (the ability to be with uncertainty)? Here are a few resources to help you along the way.
par▪a▪dox [par-uh-doks] Noun
- A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd, but which in reality expresses a possible truth.
- Any person, thing or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.
po▪lar▪i▪ty [poh-lar-i-tee] Noun
- The state of having two opposite or contradictory tendencies, opinions, or aspects
We have created this tool to help individuals and teams get more comfortable working with paradox, and to jump-start creativity and the creative problem solving process…download here
(This deck can be printed on Avery 8387 or another 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ postcard stock, or on plain 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper and then cut to size.)
Throughout the years, a multitude of brilliant thinkers have pondered the paradoxical nature of life, art, and the paradox itself. Here are a few of our favorite quotes, images and other Paradoxisms. Enjoy!
If, penned by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling in 1895, is a powerful commentary on the paradoxical nature of life and leadership, written in the form of paternal advice to his son…read more
We have created a Guided Paradox Meditation designed to expand your ability to hold both sides of a paradox. Use it once. Use it everyday…read more
Explore how paradox shows up in all aspects of our lives, and how we can leverage it to enhance our capacity for creativity, innovation and mindful living. …read more
Kacey Musgraves (the first country-style artist to headline at the famous Apollo Theater in New York City) has created a tender tribute to the often confusing, sometimes comical, totally paradoxical and delightfully magical nature of what it means to be human…listen and read more