Home best self Embracing the Paradox Mindset: How We Can Cultivate Problem Solving Skills and Creativity When Faced with Paradoxes

Embracing the Paradox Mindset: How We Can Cultivate Problem Solving Skills and Creativity When Faced with Paradoxes

by Marianne Navada

The paradox mindset refers to the ability to handle what may seem like conflicting demands.

Life throws at us, opposing demands and goals. For example society tells us to achieve financial advantage by going to college, but that can mean taking out loans and missing out on work opportunities. Research shows that people who “embrace” rather than “reject” these opposing pressures “show greater creativity, flexibility, and productivity”. Accomplished examples include Einstein, Nobel laureates, and scientists.

The lesson: don’t be afraid of paradoxes. Facing them can make you better and even make life more exciting! This translates to professional and personal life. 

The paradox mindset refers to the ability to handle what may seem like conflicting demands.

Paradoxes During Quarantine 

After reading about the paradox mindset, I wanted to deconstruct a paradox. Here’s one: eating out while eating in. How can I feel the joy of eating out in a restaurant, without being in a restaurant during quarantine? Surely not an Einstein-level paradox, but it just might jazz up quarantining.

Next, addressing this paradox.

Solution: Turn our kitchen into a cafe. Here’s how we did it:

Eating Out While Eating In

  • Brainstorm on a name: If you could start a restaurant, what would you call it? Instead of referring to the kitchen as the kitchen, call it by its restaurant name. 
  • Build a menu: Whether it’s writing it down on paper or digital one, create a menu, complete with branding. Maybe use this opportunity to learn how to use a new app! You can even include take out food in the menu—it’s fine if it’s not home-cooked. 
  • Have theme nights: not just with food, but play music and create an ambiance. 
  • Display goodies and fruits: Invest in a dessert cloche or a basket. 
  • Set the table, whether it’s take out or home-cooked, take time with presentation. 
  • For movie nights or snacks, get creative with the presentation. 

Framing some of the challenges I encounter as paradoxes to solve when applicable, gives me and my family a creative way to address what life throws at us. What has the potential of being a source of frustration turns into a creative opportunity.

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