Looking for someone who loves organizing {Complementary skill partnership}

 

Intro

My life is messy. I need someone to help me organize it: someone who LOVES organizing. I need a “de-clutterizer”! The initial idea is that we meet for 2 hours a week to organize and plan my week afterwards (mainly the non-office aspects like health and such). In return, I spend 2 hours working with you with whatever you need in your life. (This should probably be based on my strengths: research, writing, analysis, content creation, curation, coaching etc). See the following for my profile[i]

Why I’m seeking such a partnership: I enjoy mutual benefit based on strengths. I hope I can improve your life using the skills I cherish and honed over the years. In terms of my own needs, I need and love structure but I hate building it and find the process of creating it quite difficult. [1]

Desired Skills/Tasks

 

These are the skills/tasks that cause me problems, and which the partner would ideally have:

  • Time estimation: Estimate how much time I’ll need to finish a task/project.
  • Dependencies and steps: Organizing the tasks and items in a sequential way that reflects the dependencies between them.
  • Prioritization and elimination: I create lots of items and tasks. The challenge is prioritizing them and deciding which ones to remove.
  • Choosing specific tasks for a duration. I come up with many tasks and items but I need help with choosing from the big list which ones will I commit to in the coming period.
  • Limits: I can be quite the perfectionist obsessive deliberative type so I need someone to put limits for me (whether time or quantity limits).
  • Accommodating changes to the environment or the plan
  • Tidiness
  • Monitoring, tracking and evaluating progress.
  • Capturing and storing tasks/items of references.
  • Maintenance, updates, admin tasks

Tangible deliverables desired out of this collaboration

Workflow/plans/Steps/ procedures/ Schedule/ Tracking logs. These are the ones I have problems creating. The deliverables that I can provide are lists, databases, taxonomies, articles, presentations etc

Backgrounds that this partner might come from

Coordination

Operations

Project management

Planner

Strategy

Professional organizer (see https://www.napo.net/ http://www.timetoorganize.com/about/career-faqs/

Design

Agile Scum Master

Metaphors:

I bring and find pieces of the puzzle. You put them together.

I figure out the ingredients and bring them. You turn them into a recipe.

I gather information about countries and historical sites. You create the trip itinerary.

 

History:

 

This is something I grappled with since childhood. Some not so nice effects have been feelings of frustration, guilt, being overwhelmed and having difficulty in being content.

I’ve always attempted to create structure but with minimal success.  The casio organizer comes to mind as a relic from the past to bear witness to my ordeal. I’ve also tried to implement GTD by  David Allen and The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. Not to mention the countless notebooks, files, scraps of paper, software (toggle, trello, rescue time)  and lists, lists and lists. One very valuable book helped not in trying to get things more organized but in looking at the bright side of disorder. Tim Harford’s “Messy how to be creative and resilient in a tidy-minded world” helped me accept myself more and appreciate my chaotic existence!

 

One problem is that there are too many systems. I need to have one simple seamless and hopefully MECE (Mutually exclusive collectively exhaustive. That system should be easy to use but at the same time can accommodate the complexities of my life.

I think a big chunk of the problems are a flip side of the strengths that I have (see

The Flip Paradox). Perhaps I’m messy because of the number and variety of ideas that explode in my mind; because of the critical analytical bent of my mind. Maybe this annoys me a lot because of my need for high achievement and discipline. Put in Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder© terms, the high Input, Ideation, Intellection, Analysis, Focus and Discipline can cause weakness in Arranger, Adaptability and Strategic[2]. Generating a lot of ideas and collecting much information makes organization harder. Another cause might be my hyper-focus on the task. I am especially sensitive to the cognitive cost of  “task-switching” that I find taking a detour during the work session to organize or to respond to new stimuli quite difficult. Check my references and notes on an previous projectof mine: exploring the trade-off between being focused and adaptable and aiming to find the optimal point between them.

Whether I’m organized in my logical thinking is a separate issue, that I’m still not sure of.

 

 

Relevant software/tools/resources that I haven’t used yet:

Clutter Bug Test

https://clutterbug.me/what-clutterbug-are-you-test [update: I tried the assessment but didn’t find it very useful for me]

 

MindDecider – Project management & decision making software [update: I dont think they’re operational anymore. I got a rejected email when I sent an email to one of the main members of their team]

http://www.minddecider.com/Downloads.htm

 

DayViewer | Online Calendar, Planner, Organizer, Scheduling Team Collaboration

https://www.dayviewer.com/

 

Logiciel d’agenda personnel Day Organizer, ver. 2.2.1.7 (freeware – gratuit)

http://www.day-organizer.com/day-organizer-fr/

 

Weekly planner for effective people

https://weekplan.net/

LifePlanner™ :: erin condren

https://www.erincondren.com/lifeplanner

 

Planner Pads: Why it Works

https://plannerpads.com/why-it-works

 

Toodledo » Tasks, Notes, Habits, Lists & To-Dos. Get organized

https://www.toodledo.com/

 

Todoist

https://en.todoist.com/app?lang=en&v=834#start

 

Top Free Picks: Task Lists and To-Do Managers | PCMag.com

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2419258,00.asp

 

Personal organizer software, task & time management software. Getting Things Done® (GTD®): project management software, project & personal information management (PIM). To do list & time management system.

http://www.mylifeorganized.net/

Project Organizer – Windows Apps on Microsoft Store

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/project-organizer/9wzdncrdmlsk

 

Life Organizer – Windows Apps on Microsoft Store

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/life-organizer/9wzdncrdfl7r

 

The Best Organizer Software of 2016 | Top Ten Reviews

http://www.toptenreviews.com/software/home/best-organizer-software/

 

14 Apps That Will Help You To Organize Every Part Of Your Life – Business Insider

http://www.businessinsider.com/14-apps-that-will-help-you-to-organize-every-part-of-your-life-2012-3

*********

 

[1] But once I have a routine and structure, I tend to stick with it. For example, once I started attending the Amman Writing Club, I was quite diligent and known for my very good track record of attendance. Same with Amman pick-up basketball group: I play regularly on Tue and Fri every week.  I seldom miss it. Though in this case, I had a central role in creating the structure as well but that was out of need and I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it).

[2] Even though I own and have used the Gallup coaching toolkit, I am not certified by Gallup nor is this interpretation necessarily endorsed by Gallup

[i] Hashem ElAssad | LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hashemelassad/

 

About Hashem (Straightforward) | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/about/

 

 

So Very Hashem | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/so-very-hashem/

 

 

List of Posts | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/list-of-posts/

 

I am the Desert’s Penguin | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/i-am-the-deserts-penguin/

 

 

Boiling Parts of the Ocean | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/boiling-parts-of-the-ocean/

 

 

Engaging Bull on Steroids (Ahmad Al-Assad’s Flip Paradox Profile) | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2019/01/17/engaging-bull-on-steroids-ahmad-al-assads-flip-paradox-profile/

 

 

The Flip Paradox | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/the-flip-paradox/

 

 

Fruits of the Flow (Work Samples) | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/fruits-of-the-flow/

 

 

Comparative Personalities | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/comparative-personalities/

 

Hitch’s Itch (My Flow =No Stone Unturned) | Paradoxically Paradoxical

https://paradoxicallyparadoxical.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/hitchs-itch-closest-thing-to-flow/

 

 

المية تكدّب الغطاس: مناشدة لأسلوب حياة تجريبي من عقلية غير واثقة Water belies the diver (The proof is in the pudding): A Call for an Empirical Lifestyle from an Insecure Mindset

المية تكدب الغطاس

Imagine a basketball player being forced to play in a soccer team for a year. His performance is sub-par and he’s blaming others for being put in an ill-fitting place. Finally, after a year of waiting, he’s given the chance he’d been asking for all along. He should be happy now. Right? Well, yes and no. The prospect of failure now is much scarier than the before. Why? If he failed in something that he said he was bad at, then no big deal. But if he fails in something that should be his strength; something his identity hinges on, then that is scary!

I’m in a similar situation. Performance anxiety is not good for me. So, in order to address the issue, I did what I would typically do. Grab a pen and notebook and psycho-analyze myself.

What is  causing the fear?

*Scary thought #1: The circumstances will betray me. For example, I won’t be given enough time to prove myself. I will be judged unfairly. Some other factor I can’t control.

Re-assuring response:

As long as I’m not responsible for the circumstance, then I’m ok with that happening. What frightens me the most is suffering as a result of my own mistakes. Suffering because of things I can’t control, while still painful, is much more bearable. It is re-assuring to remember that I can’t control everything around me. You put in the effort and the results are not your concern.

What if people label me as a failure without taking into consideration the circumstances? That would be fine: the Hashem they draw in their minds is different from the real me. Sure, it’s quite important to gather external feedback from others on your performance: I don’t want to delude yourself. But invested parties have their own biases and problems as well. I’ll take their feedback into consideration but I shouldn’t lose sleep over it. It’s better to  find feedback on performance from people who are less invested in the situation so they would have less bias (You can search for mentors in your field at   Mentors Search at Authoraid).

Also, this Arabic proverb gives me comfort:  يا بخت مين بات مظلوم ولا بات ظالم. “You’re better off sleeping as someone who has been treated unfairly than someone who treated others unfairly.”

*Scary thought #2 : I will fail at my strength, even though all the other circumstances are fine. I can’t blame it on anything else.

Re-assuring response:

—A- Well, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your[1] strength. You can find strength elsewhere, or tweak it a little bit. Maybe your strength lies somewhere near where you thought but not exactly there. For example, maybe you thought you’d excel in writing short social media posts, but your real strength is in writing long blog posts. Take it as an opportunity to get close to where you shine. “Turn your bad day into good data” as the expression goes. Embrace a Kaizen mentality. “This is just feedback to improve my iterations next time.”[2]

B-   It’s always good, nay glorious, to know the truth, even if it’s not to my liking.  There is pleasure, joy, beauty, success and achievement in embracing the truth, no matter how ugly it is. My core identity is a truth-seeker so as long as I’m honest with myself, then I’m already succeeding and achieving.

For example, I’d rather maintain my identity as a truth seeker, even if it would lead me to lower my perception of how good of a researcher I am.

We have a fundamental need to KNOW. This need can be the need to learn things that we desire: in other words, if you took an exam, you’d want to have done brilliantly in it. This desire to know that you did well is called “specific need for closure”. But we also have another need, which is to KNOW, full-stop : regardless if the outcome is something that we desire or not. That’s called “non-specific need for closure”. There is something in me that wants to know how I fared in the exam, even if I did poorly in it. There are individual differences in how much people have this desire for non-specific need for closure. I think I have it quite high.

And this relationship with the Truth is a stable controllable relationship, because even though I can’t be sure that my thoughts are the truth, I can always give it an honest stab. The real calamity is dishonest manipulation of the truth, whether to myself or others.

Vera is irresistible! Vera is before all! Check out my Vera poem to know what I mean Protected: A Tribute to Lady Vera.(There’s a password for this poem I wrote as I had plans to get it published; many publishers require that the piece is  not made available in public. But you can ask me for the password if you’re interested in reading it).

C- Scary thought: This is the ideal place for me. If I fail here, I’ll lose the best opportunity of my life.

Re-assuring thought: This thinking is flawed. It assumes a “soulmate” construction of person/job fit. There is no golden path (Check out “How to be an Imperfectionist” by Stephen Guise for addressing the perfect golden path mentality). In fact, I don’t even subscribe to the “soulmate” theory of relationships.  We live in a big big big world with many alternative paths.

D- Scary thought: Failing is shameful, especially in public.

Re-assuring thought: Embrace the cringe! Take pride in embracing vulnerability à la Brene Brown style. Take it as a chance to hone your transparency skills.

E (well, F really) -The Final Re-assuring thought: Death is nigh!

Paradoxically, I find this comforting in dealing with the stresses of life. In the grand scheme of things, I’m a speck of dust and all of my challenges wouldn’t matter, it’s the same destination after all. Now, obviously this technique won’t work with everyone. It’s de-motivating but I need some de-motivation as my motivation is already too high. There is a bell-curve relationship between motivation and performance. Too high a motivation is damaging (e.g. performance anxiety). What if I become stressed out about death? Well, I’d rather stress out over death than the relatively petty issues of everyday life.

Steve Jobs said it well: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.”

 —————

A Re-conceptualization of Failure

Another important element to this is how we view failure. The web is replete with useful quotes and anecdotes from famous people on this idea: Failure is an inevitable component of greatness.

An inspiring model is Google X and how they embrace failure to encourage innovation “Google X”. AStro Teller of Google X says:

“You must reward people for failing, he says. If not, they won’t take risks and make breakthroughs. If you don’t reward failure, people will hang on to a doomed idea for fear of the consequences. That wastes time and saps an organization’s spirit.” …

“If you shame them when they come back, if you tell them that they’ve failed you because they didn’t find a mountain, no matter how diligently they looked for or how cleverly they looked for it, those scouts will quit your company.”…

 “Google X projects have many inspirations and many starting points. But Mr Teller says not one of them has started from the conventional business question: “How can we make a tonne of money?” That is, he explains, because these ideas are about huge, transformative, disruptive change, not the marginal, incremental change of a conventional business. He says that if, like a conventional business, “you make things a little bit better for a lot of people, you’d better have a world class sales and marketing team and make sure that your solution is purchased, because it’s only a little bit better. “But if it’s a lot better, the money’s going to come and find you in a fair and elegant way.””[3]

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-25880738

A call to an Empirical Lifestyle:

We have to be careful for how the mind plays tricks on us in order to save us psychological angst: for example, self-handicapping is a psychological phenomenon where we intentionally sabotage our chances of success so that when we fail, we can blame it on circumstances that doesn’t affect our self-perception. If someone has a  test, they could intentionally not study because so that when they fail, they can blame it on their lack of preparation rather than their intelligence.

I don’t want to be like that. It’s better to have a lower actualized success than a potential colossal success that’s never achieved.

I can hide behind my expensive University of Toronto degree, fancy vocabulary and the sweet assurances of my mother that I’m the best thing since sliced bread. But if I really desire truth and mastery, I’ll throw myself in the deep end  for there lies Vera (No pun nor paradox intended for “lies”).

 As the Arabic saying goes, “The water belies the diver” المية تكدب الغطاس . This basically means “The Proof is in the pudding”. Water in this context could mean see or ocean. [4]

Oh fire, test my mettle! Oh Vera, I long for thee!

****

[1] I chose not to be consistent with the pronouns. As I’m trying to do 2 things in this piece: address my own situation and perhaps offer some food for thought, for someone who might be in the same boat as I am.

[2] Similarly, Check out Cal Newport’s advice to create a series of experiments that generates feedback in your career path in chapter 14: “Missions Require Little Bets” in his book “So Good they Can’t ignore you: Why Skills Trump Passion” .

[3] See this Justin Morrow’s article as well.

https://nofilmschool.com/2014/05/da-vinci-was-a-loser-failure-stories-you-need-to-hear

[4] The text on the mug says “Water belies the diver”. For the image on the mug and what it means to me, see Boiling Parts of the Ocean . Interestingly, my main metaphor for myself in Comparative Personalities is scuba diver.=

The Ultimate Guide To Make Your Anxiety Fun

Some really powerful thoughts here!

Anxiety is Fun

Anxiety is not fun. Ask any anxious person what fun is, and they’ve probably forgotten. Can you blame them? Anxious people are in constant inner battle with their thoughts, they cannot work, eat, sleep, or repeat properly. I always thought that I’d live the rest of my life trapped inside of my head, I hated my life, I hated myself. Everyone’s telling me it is all in my head, there’s nothing wrong with me, I should be more grateful, they didn’t understand how hard is it to wake up in the morning knowing my day will be nothing but fear.

Whenever I was anxious, or having a panic attack, I tried so hard to calm myself down, taking deep breaths, focusing on something else, and relaxing my tense muscles, nothing really worked. Medications helped me, but whenever I hear someone’s terrible story with them, I despise myself for taking them…

View original post 1,849 more words

I am the Desert’s Penguin

“Who am I?” We were grappling with this ultimate question in Wadi Rum Desert. My answer was: I’m the penguin’s desert بطريق الصحراء. This started out as a joke, but upon reflection, I think I’m going to seriously adopt it as my symbol.

How does this symbol fit me?

Fetching fish is research. The desert is a place where a writer can find inspiration and discipline away from the distractions of modern-day life. As a logophile, I can connect with the heritage of the wordsmith Bedouins, for they are masters of the word.

The harshness of the desert stirs me to be steadfast in pursuing the truth. It stands in juxtaposition with the friendly playful nature of the penguin. The odd animal’s pace is heavy and somewhat hesitant.

 

The whole scene captures my fascination with paradox!

*to address the elephant in the room: I shaved my head as I was asking a friend to do something crazy so the suggestion was shaving my head. It’s a very uncharacteristic style for me.WhatsApp Image 2019-08-03 at 2.46.39 PM(1)

Books that influenced my thought

I already posted a shorter version of this on LinkedIn. This has more authors and names of books as it’s not restricted by space such as LinkedIn posts.

Your books shaped my thought! If you’re mentioned here, I wanted to thank you. Your book (and in some cases, books) left an imprint on my brain and heart. Perhaps I’ll get the chance to elaborate more  on how you influenced me through one-on-one correspondence (or a blog post), but I just wanted to acknowledge  you in this small way.

Top authors who nourished me with their books over the years (This is the more work-related list).

Individual Differences (Talent /multiple intelligences etc/Flip paradox/ neurodiverity/personality)

Marcus Buckingham

StandOut 2.0

Ken Carbone

Virtuoso

Philip Hathaway

The psychological elegance of talent

Thomas Armstrong

The Power of Neurodiversity

Edward R. Amend and James Webb

Misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis of gifted children

 Brock Eide and Fernette Eide

The Dyslexic Advantage

Mary-Dean Barringer, Craig Pohlman, Michele Robinson

Schools for All Kinds of Minds: Boosting Student Success by Embracing Learning Variation

 Steven Pfeiffer, Lisa Limburg-Weber, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius

Early Gifts: Recognizing and Nurturing Children’s Talents

Mel M.D. Levine

A Mind at a Time

Albert Bernsetien

Emotional vampires

Career choice and development; Job search

Warr and Clapperton

The Joy of Work?

Benjamin Todd

80,000 Hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good

Calvin Newport

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skill Trumps Passion

Margaret Lobenstine

The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life

Barbara Sher

Refuse To Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams

I could do anything if I only knew what it was

It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now: How To Create Your Second Life At Any Age

Jim Barret

Test Your Own Job Aptitude: Exploring Your Career Potential

Anita Houghton

Finding square holes

Richard Nelson Bolles

What color is your parachute?

Robert Greene

Mastery

JDM/false perception

Dan Ariely

Predictably irrational, The upside of irrationality, The Honest Truth about Dishonesty

Robert Bartholomew

Outbreak (with Hillary Evans) and Hoaxes, Myths and Mania(with Benjamin Bradford)

Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Mistakes were made but not by me

Productivity

Chris Bailey

Productivity Project

David Allen

Getting Things Done

Tim Ferris

The 4-hour week

Internet Addiction

Nicholas Carr

The Shallows

Adam Alter

Irresistible

Gary Wilson

Your Brain on Porn

Health (Fitness and Light)

Michael Terman and Ian McMahan

Reset your inner Clock

Till Roennberg

Internal Time

Elena Rover

Chelsea Piers Solution

OCD

 Jon Hershfield

The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD

Jeffrey M. Schwartz

Brain Lock

Fiona, Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldfield, Paul Salkovskis

Break Free from OCD

Misc.

Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams,

Craft of Research (3rd ed.)

Allan Pease  Barbaraba Pease

The Definitive Book of Body Language

Gregory Hartley . Maryan Karinsch

The body language handbook

Walter Mischel

The Marshmallow Test

Guise

How to be an imperfectionist

Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection

Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point

Blink

David and Goliath

Outliers

Mark Manson

The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

Tim Hafford

Messy

Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence. Social Intelligence

 Roger Fisher and William L. Ury

Getting to Yes

Recommended Best Picks

Recommended Best Picks: Tangible items after research/curation/study/collection etc of the best picks in a specific field (Could be a book, assessment, resources, tool, video, pick, etc….)

Topic Examples of Best-Picks
 

Perfectionism

How to be an Imperfectionist By Stephen Guise

http://imperfectionistbook.com/plans/

 

Productivity The Productivity Project

 

Choosing a career 80000hours.org

The Joy of Work? (Clapperton & Warr)

Questionnaires of the book can be found under e-resources here

https://www.routledge.com/The-Joy-of-Work-Jobs-Happiness-and-You/Warr-Clapperton/p/book/9780415459662

 

 

https://careerlaboratory.blogspot.com/

 

https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/online-assessment-review

 

Assessments https://www.hmhco.com/classroom-solutions/assessment

http://www.cambridgecognition.com/cantab/

The excel sheet that I created that I include the many other psychometric assessments that those 2 were chosen from can be accessed here.

 

Sleep https://cet.org/

 

Research Tools and Resources https://osintframework.com/

http://researchclinic.net

https://pubpsych.zpid.de

www.diigo.com  

https://software4scholars.wordpress.com/

http://dirtdirectory.org/

https://contentcuration.zeef.com/robin.good

Activities https://www.exploratorium.edu/

 

Creativity http://www.creativitypool.com/forums/

 

JDM (Judgement and Decision-Making) https://advanced-hindsight.com/

 

Internet Addiction

 

http://filters.pluckeye.net/

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/internet-addiction-shackle-yourself-freedom-hashem-elassad/

https://getcoldturkey.com/ 

www.qustodio.com

www.nosurf.org

https://humanetech.com

 

Happiness and Positive Psych www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu

https://positivepsychologytoolkit.com

 

 

 

Why I named my blog Paradoxically Paradoxical? and a Proposed Slogan “Embrace the Cringe! Embrace the Fringe!”

Charlie Yoon Pixabay License Бесплатно для коммерческого использования Указание авторства не требуется
nothing-is-written-in-stone-527756_1920
Photo by SBM on Pixabay. Pixabay License https://pixabay.com/images/id-527756/

This is to prove that I’m not using fancy phrases with no reason; It’s all calculated my friends (though I love fancy phrases and I might be guilty of that sometimes!).

Back in the days, I hated contractions. I abhorred them regardless if they were only seeming contradictions or actual ones. They made me very uneasy. And the failed harmonization attempts made me cringe. I needed neat clear logical answers. My need for cognitive closure was high.

Over the years, alongside this repulsion , I noticed an odd attraction towards those contradictions and paradoxes. Something in me was very intrigued, finding myself gravitating towards them over and over again. In a strange way, both sentiments thrive in me today, and maybe always had.

When I encounter or sense a dialectic, I feel pressure to resolve it either by finding a harmonization or by identifying it indeed as a contradiction (calling a spade a spade). That stress, while uneasy, is in it and of itself is a sign of the beautiful fascination that paradox exercises on me.

I’ll give an example; the issue that made me think of the title “paradoxically paradoxical” to begin with. The people who make it to leadership positions tend to be aggressive, selfish and egotistical.

An impressionistic rough hypothesis: Those who are selfless, easing-going and want to accommodate others tend not to seek leadership positions. However, people governed by this leadership will benefit from a selfless altruistic leader. And here in lies the paradox; good leadership is altruistic leadership but altruistic people don’t tend to seek leadership. After we understand this paradox, we are better able to improve the situation: Devise a system that appoints leaders who do not take initiative in pursuing power or search for leaders who possess the rare combination of selflessness and strength; seeking power as a means not an end.

This paradox explains why the status quo is not very good. Now, we can find a better solution like searching for leaders who possess the rare combination of seeking power and altruism or building a system that appoints only leaders who do not seek power nor positions.

The second point is that by examining a paradox, we can improve our situations.

It’s a goldmine for improvement and powerful insight. And there-in lies the ultimate paradox: my greatest source of unease is my greatest source of joy; paradoxes. Devoting my life to contemplating them might be the most fruitful endeavor. That is meta-paradoxical. Pursuing paradoxes is particularly productive. It’s then might be more fruitful to focus on what “doesn’t make sense” than what does make sense.

I was flustered/ disenchanted by the lack of progress in life. There seems to be a lot of knowledge and hard work but often, the improvement that we want does not happen even with the best resources. I felt that the system was somehow stuck in gear.

These paradoxes gave an explanation to that.

They were responsible for jamming the system. The good news was that if we understood those paradoxes, then we can unlock the system paving the way for the long-awaited progress.

I became much more interested in things that “didn’t feel right”, counter-intuitive or “insane” ideas. After all, the “normal” way was the status-quo way and I wasn’t satisfied with that. Are you?

So what do I do now when I get this feeling of “this doesn’t make sense”, “there’s something off” “there’s a contradiction”? Instead of sweeping the issue under the rug or acquiescing to cognitive dissonance, I scratch that itch. I get excited by the smell of the paradox since, there, bottlenecks are cleared and major breakthroughs are made.

Behavioral Economics:

The same principle applies to behavioral economics. Traditional economics assumes that the person is completely rational. Behavioral economics focuses on our irrationality. The wonderful thing about focusing so much on our systematic cognitive mistakes, is that this means that we can improve and improve a lot without paying much in return. Dan Ariely says “(I)t can be rather depressing to realize that we all continually make irrational decisions in our personal, professional and social lives. But there is a silver lining: the fact that we make mistakes also means that there are ways to improve our decisions —- and therefore that there are opportunities for free lunches…. One of the main differences between standard and behavioral economics involves this concept of ‘free lunches.’ According to the assumptions of standard economics, all human decisions are rational and informed …. As a consequence, economic theory asserts that there are no free lunches — if there aware any, someone would have already found them and extracted all their value…  behavioral economists, on the other hand, believe that people are susceptible to …(multiple)… forms of irrationality… The good news is that these mistakes also provide opportunities for improvement. If we all make systematic mistakes in our decisions, then why not develop new strategies, tools, and methods to help us make better decisions and improve our overall well-being? That’s exactly the meaning of free lunches from the perspective of behavioral economics ….” ( Predicatbly irrational, 319-320).

The most exciting phrase in Science is ….. “That’s funny”

Complexity scientist, Samuel Arbesman, said something to a similar effect (Listen to Podcast Interview with him, minute 6-8, 11-13). He focuses on odd, anomalous issues he encounters to gain a better understanding of a topic he’s studying. This often happens when something “doesn’t fit in”. This is a lens that allows him to unlock previously hidden information echoing Isaac Aismov’s quote ““The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not, ‘Eureka! I’ve found it,’ but, ‘That’s funny!’”.

I think I good slogan for the blog would be “Embrace the Cringe”. Do you like it?

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