(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


Many of these S3MCs are in the form of Distinctions, a device in which the comparison of two different (distinct) thoughts can be illuminating. Sometimes the two are contradictions, an either/or.

The interesting thing about this Distinction is that one part of it, Paradox, is about living with a difference. A paradox occurs when one sees the difference in two apparently opposing views, yet makes neither of them wrong. This is a powerful tool for developing greater awareness.

Up and down are two conditions which seem clearly different, perhaps contradictions, when view from the position of Earth. They are a simple paradox when viewed from outer space.

The key to receiving value from paradoxes is that they will help you pry yourself away from being so attached to positions. “My way or the highway”, “Believe this or I’ll kill you,” “You’re wrong, so wrong”, are all based on positions and, oh, do we humans love to take positions.

When you practice looking beyond a seeming contradiction and can discover a paradox lurking in its folds you have the opportunity to discover if you may be stuck in a positionality. Live with the possibility of both having validity, the paradox, and see what it teaches you.


Coaching Point: Over the years I’ve found it difficult to let go of some of my cherished positions and embrace a revealed paradox. Is it easy for you?


Copyright 2015 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.