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Learning Activity: Paradox Castle



Leaders must face what can feel like an endless series of paradoxes. Struggling to hold onto truths that tend to clash yet remain both valid is excellent training for the need to make careful strategic, compassionate, courageous decisions.

Purpose:
Explore the impact on perception of paradox and its implications for achieving success.

Materials:
Large prints, posters, or slides of paints by M.C. Escher (and other painters with a flair for painting paradoxical situations.)

Process
  1. Discuss the meaning of paradox. Ask: What are some examples of paradox in your world? In movies? In art? In leadership?
  2. Show two or more works of paradoxical art. Allow several minutes of silent reflection.
  3. Break into groups of four who must silently depict the motions of a day in the mental world of the painters presented, taking care to bring out a sense of paradox. Stress the silence. (Allow several minutes. If a group struggles, silently signal them to quietly provide musical / percussion background for another group. They may struggle with this as well - it helps to prepare your group with previous musical improvisation exercises. You could also play atmospheric music in the back ground, something meditative.)
Debrief:
  • What are the visual cues of paradox?
  • What are the benefits of embracing a sense of paradox?
  • What transforming processes might tease-out more precise and concrete meaning from a paradox?
  • What does paradox look like in the business world? In the not-for-profit world? In education? Theological world? World of interpersonal relationships?
  • What can you do with this new sense of paradox to enhance or transform one of your important relationships?
Image retrieved 27 December 2018 at: 



Image retrieved 27 December 2018 at:


"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change."
-- Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy

"All generalizations are false, including this one."
-- Albert Einstein




"This Is Not a Pipe" image retrieved 27 December 2018 from:



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