The paradox mindset, boosting your innovation and success

Boosting your innovation and success, while also having more fun at work? There’s a paradox that’s certainly worth embracing.

By Loizos Heracleous and David Robson

I just read this article on the BBC website. Did you know about the Paradox Mindset? I guess it is something worth looking into these days. We have had 9 months of uncertainty and unseen challenges and dilemmas. Sometimes it has been difficult to solve problems when you are trying to wrap you brain around challenges like close or half opened schools, teacher and students in quarantine. This is where the paradox mindset suggests an alternative perspective, accepting and learning to live with the tensions associated with competing demands. It is an understanding that these competing demands are not really resolvable. These outside factors will not change even if we are looking at vaccines to come soon. Even if tensions are resolved today, tomorrow will present a different challenge. A paradox mindset shifts the focus from the need to constantly balance demands over time. Learning how to manage these competing demands more effectively is, strangely, liberating. Those emotional cognitive resources we had allocated to sorting tasks into buckets, making mental lists and feeling concerned that we are not doing enough (not to mention self-flagellation) are now freed up. Source: Knowledge


Your own job may already contain many contradictory goals that could inspire paradoxical cognition. In the past, you might have assumed that you need to sacrifice one for the other – but if you want to cultivate the paradox mindset, you might spend a bit more time considering the ways you can pursue them both, simultaneously. Rather than seeing the potential conflicts as something to avoid, you can begin to view the competing demands as an opportunity for growth and a source of motivation. (And if there aren’t any external pressures, you could create your own – asking, for instance, how you could increase the efficiency and accuracy of your performance on a particular task, if only for an exercise in paradoxical thinking.) There may be no immediate solution, but the very act of thinking about the possibility of reconciling those issues could still lubricate your mind for greater innovation elsewhere. BBC

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