Concept Duality

Dec 31, 2011 by

Concept Duality

I had a very interesting discussion with a close friend of mine the other day about the duality of concepts.

Ideas that seems contradictory but in reality simply illuminate different facets of the same truth.

Anthony Robbins talks about Certainty and Uncertainty (at 9:49) in his TED talk. He talks about how we need to have both to be happy. You have to be certain in a set number of aspects of your life (ie. you have to be certain of your safety or you can’t do anything but make sure that you are safe), and you need adventure (ie. uncertainty) so that you can be thrilled with the unpredictability of living. Certainty and Uncertainty are two sides of the same curiosity or expectation need of the human drama.

Look at masculinity and femininity: two sides of the same gender coin. While masculinity has goals and outcome and end points as primary attributes; femininity has process and connection and openness as primary attributes. People who can embody both masculine and feminine characteristics and express those characteristics at the appropriate time are very seductive. In men they are strong but understanding; in women they are soft but independent.

Since truths and concepts can be multi-faceted, then each facet (the different sides of the coin) is important in different situations and consequently very appealling the have access to all the facets.

So what drove this is the concept of being a leader. It seems that great leaders embody many contradictory qualities and can draw upon those qualities at the right moments in time. At times they have a goal like JFK’s “Man on the moon speech” where Kennedy‘s power comes from giving America a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal – from Jim Collins – popularized in “Good to Great“) and at other times they simply have a process, or in Martin Luther King‘s amazing speech, a dream: Not an end-point, but a series of behaviors that over time change our world.

We are all leaders in our own specific worlds: leaders of children, groups, schools, spouses, etc.

What dual concept … what masculine / feminine forces … can you conjure up to ignite people?

Tough question to answer truthfully. But just asking it is worth the effort.

See you on the wire

– Steven Cardinale

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