When Overwhelmed, Adopt a Paradox Mindset
How to thrive when resources are scarce
With lockdowns closing schools and offices around the world, it’s become commonplace to see dogs and kids barge into business meetings as the boundaries between work and life have blurred. A seamless balance is impossible. We have to do both – work plus managing our lives, our spouses, kids, pets and home – all at once.
Doing both depends on our ability to adopt a paradox mindset, to consider the world with a “both/and” approach instead of an “either/or” one. In times like these, times of change, uncertainty and scarcity, we need to do many tasks together. And people need to feel comfort with discomfort – these hurdles aren’t going away.
Unfortunately, when we experience tensions and competing demands like these, we often react defensively with a zero-sum, either/or approach. The uncertainty, fear and anxiety that have emerged across the world in the last few months make us crave the certainty and clarity that an either/or approach offers us even more. With an either/or approach, we seek to clearly prioritise, for example, between work or family time. However, this leaves us always feeling like we are missing out on something. Not only are resources allocated with this in mind, our “inner talk” – what we say to ourselves about our choices – will reflect that struggle. So, when we are investing time in work, we tell ourselves that we’re neglecting our kids, with all the accompanying blame and guilt. This can lead to negative spirals and vicious cycles. It can create negative emotions.
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