The Tyranny of the OR!

There is always a ‘perceived trade off’ or a focus on “You can have one or the other” – however, does it always have to be this way?

Are you missing out on opportunities because of the ‘Tyranny of the OR’?

The Yin-Yang symbol from Chinese dualistic philosophy represents a key Guiding Principle of highly visionary companies and visionary Leaders. They do not oppress themselves with what we call the ‘Tyranny of the OR’ – the rational view that cannot easily accept paradox, that cannot live with two seemingly contradictory forces or ideas at the same time.

The ‘Tyranny of the OR’ pushes people to believe that things must be either A OR B, but not both. It makes such proclamations as:

  • “You can have change OR stability”
  • “You can be conservative OR bold”
  • “You can have low cost OR high quality”
  • “You can be a generalist OR a specialist”
  • “You can have creative autonomy OR consistency and control”
  • “You can invest for the future OR do well in the short term”
  • “You can create wealth for shareholders OR make a profound impact on the world”
  • “You can be idealistic (values driven) OR pragmatic (profits driven)”
  • “You can have a successful career OR be a great parent”
  • “You can play to win OR play not to lose”

The ‘Tyranny of the OR’ doesn’t just apply to business and professional life – it is equally applicable to your personal life as well.

Whether professionally or personally there is always a ‘perceived trade off’ or a focus on “You can have one or the other” – however, does it always have to be this way?

Instead of being oppressed by the ‘Tyranny of the OR’, highly visionary companies, Leaders and individuals liberate themselves both personally and professionally with the ‘Genius of the AND’ – the ability to embrace both extremes of the scale and a number of dimensions at the same time.

Instead of choosing between A OR B, they figure out a way to have A AND B.

Are there areas of your life where perhaps you have subconsciously made choices based on the ‘Tyranny of the OR’, when actually you could have applied the ‘Genius of the AND’?

Think back and review recent decisions and choices you’ve made both personally and professionally. What was the decision making criteria: the ‘Tyranny of the OR’ or…the ‘Genius of the AND’?

Next time you’re in a meeting and discussions are in full flow, turn up the dial on your sensory acuity and really listen for the language used; is the focus on the ‘Tyranny of the OR’ or…the ‘Genius of the AND’?

You’ll find that once you start applying this Guiding Principle, you’ll begin thinking differently – exploring the extremities of the decision making process, as opposed to being stuck in the middle ground of mediocrity – the groove or the grave driven by the ‘Tyranny of the OR’.

You’ll enrich your life and the life of those around you, you’ll find that you accelerate towards your goals faster…and the journey will be more rewarding and more fun!

Good luck applying the ‘Genius of the AND’.

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