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Paradoxical Thinking

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Paradoxical Thinking

How to Profit from Your Contradictions


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." [ – Ralph Waldo Emerson]

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Editorial Rating



Jerry L. Fletcher and Kelley Olwyler examine how you use paradoxical thinking - contradictory ways of approaching a situation. Then, they discuss ways to use your paradoxes to your strategic advantage. You can use their "pendulum" to help you recognize the positive and negative ways you express these paradoxes - so you can apply the positive actions to difficult situations. They invite readers to analyze themselves and resolve a current problem. The book can help you devise more creative solutions to personal and work situations. However, while the system is fairly straightforward, elements do seem complicated and may be difficult to apply on your own. getabstract recommends this book as a novel approach to problem solving and a worthy way to regard goal setting without the nagging voice of consistency in your ear.


The Nature of Paradoxical Thinking

Very successful people seem to be both contradictory and comfortable with their contradictions. In fact, when individuals perform at their best, they almost always approach situations paradoxically. The advantage of paradoxical thinking is that it enables you to perform at higher levels of ability and to expand your sense of the value of your efforts.

A paradox is a contradiction that expresses a truth. The term also refers to any person, thought or action showing apparent contradictions or inconsistencies. While a dictionary may limit the description to only mutually exclusive combinations, often those combinations, which seem to be impossible, really aren’t. If you explore them more fully, you find both sides can be true simultaneously.

If you understand how to use your paradoxical qualities, you can better guide your own behavior and become more successful. You can apply these qualities to resolving complex and confusing problems and to achieving what you want to accomplish.

Some Examples of Effective Paradoxes

You have your own particular combination of paradoxes, and your own contradictory and paradoxical ...

About the Authors

Jerry L. Fletcher specializes in helping corporations handle the human side of large-scale organizational change. His clients include Digital Equipment Corporation, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, IBM and Procter & Gamble. He also is the author of Patterns of High Performance and Human Growth Games. Kelley Olwyler focuses on one-on-one executive coaching, team consulting and innovative thinking processes. She has trained and managed consultants in the U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

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