How paradox changes the world

There have been countless people whose immense success can be traced to the embodiment of seemingly paradoxical beliefs and values. It was the apparent contradiction that separated them from the noise. Some examples…

  • Abraham Lincoln: Freedom and unity.
  • Tony Hsieh (Founder: Zappos): Exceptional service and profit.
  • Richard Feynman (Nobel prize winning scientist): Extreme discipline and fun.
  • Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix (founders of Cirque Du Soleil): Tradition and innovation.
  • Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley (Founders: Kiva Microfunds): Individual capitalism and International economic stimulus.
  • Albert Einstein (Nobel prize winning scientist): Science and imagination.
  • Jimmy Wales (Founder: Wikipedia): Egalitarianism and regulation.
  • Howard Schultz (Founder: Starbucks): Scalability and community.
  • Bill Gates (Founder: Microsoft): Paranoia and optimism.
  • Salman Khan (Founder: Khan Academy): Education and gratis (free of charge).
  • Blake Mycoskie (Founder: TOMS Shoes): Profit and charity.
  • Jeff Bezos (Founder: Amazon): Immense variety and low cost (the long tail).
  • Richard Branson (Founder: Virgin): Business and adventure.

Name any incredible leader or company, and you will likely find two seemingly contradictory beliefs and values at their core. For these individuals, embracing these dichotomies is not a source of considerable cognitive dissonance, but rather, immeasurable inspiration.

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