Strength in Contradiction

Humans can hold two contradictory thoughts at one time. It can be maddening when you’re working with a client, because it surfaces as ambivalence. It can also be empowering if you can tap into it just right.

I was first introduced to the idea of power in contradiction by the Benedictines, Living with Contradiction, by Esther de Waal. It deserves a re-read, and it took me two passes to understand a glimmer of what she was proposing. For a very approachable introduction, we can turn to Gary Vaynerchuck.

Hustle and patience. Pulling from both sides, because you have to be both things at the same time. What about enough?

I am enough. It’s a mantra of the times, swirling so thick in the zeitgeist you could choke on it. What does it mean, to be enough? Are we done? Do we sit on the porch and drink peach tea and watch traffic go by? We could. However, there is this tension from the opposite side. I am growth and change. In Vaynerspeak, I’m macro-enough and micro-growth-and-change. By accepting my inherent worth, and at the same time accepting the constant change in every cell of my body and the world, I can engage in work without fear.

What might I fear? Failure, the opinion of others, an uncertain future. I am enough, and you are too. It doesn’t matter how it turns out. I’ll do the thing, or learn. Either way, I win. I was enough before I started, and enough when it finished.

By the way, a “B” is a fine grade.


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