The Paradox Mindset: Why Knowing Nothing Allows you to Learn Everything

Seed Paradox
The paradox of a seed as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:36, "...What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies."

What is a Paradox?

A paradox is a statement or idea that is often first perceived as absurd or self-contradicting BUT, when actually studied and put into practice, proves to be true and efficacious.

Having the mindset, or looking at situations and solutions through the lens of seemingly contradictory viewpoints is having the 'Paradox Mindset'.

"...What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies." - Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) 1 Corinthians 15:36

Make something better in Less time and with Less Resources

So, why as a single-parent would you care about mindset, or at all about a paradoxical one? To survive and eventually thrive, our situation necessitates that we learn new skills and habits-FAST! We face a daily steep learning curve, in the beginning especially. So we need this to move beyond just surviving.

As mentioned in my intro on the home page, I, along with my kiddos, are now thriving. It wasn't an accident or wishful thinking. The best place to start when trying to effect change is inside. Stop accepting the paradigms, stop self-defeating habits and thought patterns. Control the one area of life you actually control and stop worrying about the 99% of the world around you that you can't.

Mindset is everything

We live in a paradox. Think about it, we are being pulled in opposite directions right? We as single-parents have quadruple* the load of responsibility, financial and otherwise, and yet our kids require more than the usual amount of quality attention. Do you find that being dragged simultaneously in two different directions, situational paradox, is stressful? *(I say quadruple because we have the responsibility-load of 2 parents less one parent - 2 parents energy x 2 parent's responsibility = 4. Then 4 ÷ 1 parent = 4 (quadruple...I hope the math adds up, I'm drinking some shiraz with lunch - don't judge me!)

The paradox mentality has for others, and can for you, lead to the greatest breakthroughs and solutions you will ever know. It has been shown to be key in heightening creativity and displayed in effective leadership roles. As single-parents are we not leaders? Leaders of little peoples anyway.

It can be empowering to know that two opposites can be true.

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention.." - Plato

Don't ask 'Why?' Ask 'Why Not?'

I embraced this way of thinking sometime ago with great results. At first I thought I was nuts, and so did most of my friends and workmates and ex. I wanted to earn more and work less. Paradox. I truly believe that in order to do (nearly) anything, you need to know nothing. More on this soon.

There were several studies done on the 'Paradox Mindset' that tested the results of the participant's "Paradoxical Cognition" (or awareness of the use and manipulation of paradoxical ideas to accomplish a task). It's a thing. While I admire the people who do these studies and the fact that they actually study things like this, it must be terribly boring. -Sorry, tangent. Where was I going with this...Oh yeah, so one neat example of a study was the RAT or Remote Associates Test ( I think it should be "Remote Association Test" but whatever - that's what the interwebs calls it). Basically they asked the participants to find a common thread that connected three seemingly completely disconnected words. For example head, shot & pepper; the commonality? Hot. Hothead, hotshot & hot-pepper. Those with a higher "Paradoxical Cognition" , or any at all, rocked it.

I truly believe that in order to do (nearly) anything, you need to know nothing.- Me

The Paradox Mindset and Real-World Success

In the real world this "Paradoxical Cognition" has led to the development of GPS based off of Einstein's theory of relativity which paradoxically states that an object can at the same time be still and moving depending on the vantage point of the observer. Heck, what about light - it behaves like a particle (with mass) and a wave (no mass).

A whole whack of 'geniuses' that were studied and were found to all exhibit a paradoxical patterns of thinking, I would mention them but frankly I don't like smart-asses.

The best, useful, real-world paradox ever, is water. Think about it. When chaos broke out after say the Hindenburg Airship caught on fire from hydrogen (a highly flammable and explosive gas) and continued to burn due to oxygen (also an explosive gas and a necessity for all combustion)

The Hindenburg Disaster By Gus Pasquerella

- that fire was put out with water- A combination of those very same gasses! Bam.

My success with this...

Not long ago I was looking into a partnership with a big ole internet company as a contractor of sorts. The host of the meeting asked me about my last contract in this field. What did I do for the client? (Keep in mind this is a soft-skill computery job). I explained that I started by repairing their continuous sealing machines. Whilst do so, I mentioned I have tinkered with websites. They asked me to create their website, so I did... as well as set up their payment processors, logistics and restructured their wholesale price-sheet . A week later I had renovated their small warehouse office and kitchen, set-up the computer and printer I had purchased for them with their money. Made sure their corporate email went to their new computer and was accessible with one touch. Tested the wireless printer, fixed the error state left instructions and the payment card. Turn-key solution. I don't do part of the job. I do everything from start to finish. The paradox? How can I go from IT work to using a skill saw and renovating then machine repair to redirecting the URL and changing MX records? Not because I'm smart or because I want to toot my own horn, no; Because I learned to use skills from seemingly disconnected industries in conjunction with one another. The 'opposites' are actually connected. Its all connected-Everything is connected.

I was given all these things. We are all but the sum of what we've had the privilege of learning from others.

When I say you need to 'know' nothing in order to learn everything, I mean the attitude with which you approach new tasks or even new employment in the same field. Sure, you may have your way of doing things, however, if you come into a new employment situation in a subordinate role, learn it their way. In other words, "know nothing".

I learned as much as I could of each of those above-mentioned individual skills by working for those who were very good in their field. My Oupa always said, "What you take with your eyes is not stealing." Learn everyone's tips, tricks and shortcuts and make them your own.

What you take with your eyes is not stealing. - My oupa, S.T. Andrews

So my friends, explore the absurd and contradictory. Embrace it. What if none of this is 'normal'. What if it never was. What is normal? Certainly not me and I hope you aren't either.