Coping with Paradoxes
Now you have learned about different kinds of paradoxes. But how can we cope with them?
Through decades of research, Smith and Lewis (2022) identified tools to help navigate paradoxes: They pull these ideas together in what they call the Paradox System. The Paradox System is an integrated sets of tools to enable both/and thinking. The system includes tools that shift how we think (assumptions) and how we feel (comfort) when navigating paradoxes. They further address how we approach situations by building static structures (boundaries) while enabling adaptive practices (dynamics).
The most effective both/and thinkers don’t just pick one set of tools. They engage with all these tools, enabling them to work together. They adopt both/and mindsets while also managing their emotions to become comfortable with the discomfort. They set static boundaries to guide their response to tensions while staying flexible to learn, adapt, and change over time.
Now start to explore the infographic below to learn more about how we can cope with paradoxes. The horizontal (people) axis are tools to engage the heart and mind. Often in conflict, heart and mind can also reinforce one another. The vertical (context) axis in the figure represents tools that help frame a particular situation, fostering stable boundaries and enabling changing dynamics.
Again, stability and change pull in opposite directions but also foster synergies.Together, these tools support both/and thinking that addresses paradoxes both personally (assumptions and comfort) and contextually (boundaries and dynamism).
Explore the graph
Below, you find an overview of the System of Paradoxes. Click on the small „impagio“-icons to get more information on how to deal with paradoxes.