“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.”
The above is a quote from M. Scott Peck, American psychiatrist and best-selling author of the 1978 bestseller The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth.
Most everyone has experienced the truth that life is difficult. Yet, Peck further writes: “it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
Per M. Scott Peck’s wise counsel, we can choose to use the discomfort and difficulties of our lives to propel us toward something greater.
Creative tension is the idea that disagreement and discord can produce more creative ideas and outcomes. “I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
We only need look to mother nature to see abundant examples of creative tension, how the old adage “all is grist for the mill” translates to everything can be made useful, or be a source of profit.
There is the creative tension engendered within the chrysalis when the dissolution of the caterpillar yields magic in the emergence of new life as the butterfly.
Who hasn’t marveled at the creative tension underpinning the tenacity of a single blade of grass working its way through a hairpin crack in a slab of concrete.
And we have all reaped the rewards from nature’s continuous creativity in the perennial growth of plants, flowers, and trees in early spring despite their dormancy through the tension of barren winter months.
Physicists tell us that the underlying law of our universe is entropy, or constant descent into disorder. Energy, i.e., the animation of life force is needed to restore order.
John Spacey, a technologist living in Tokyo, Japan writes: “Failure of imagination is the expectation that current and future opportunities and risks will resemble the past.”
The term is associated with major failures of risk management and strategy based on static, unimaginative and reactive thinking.
How are you using your imagination? Are you easily triggered into reactive thinking? Where in your life is your mindset static and fixed instead of flexible and fluid?
Albert Einstein’s famous declaration that imagination is more important than knowledge demonstrates the capacity of a curious and creative attitude.
As long as you and I are still breathing we have access to the available energy needed to meet the tension in the difficulties of our lives with a creative mind. This is how we can effectively adapt to chaos and change.
The renowned American Psychologist Albert Ellis, once said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
So if you can relate to what M. Scott Peck said about the difficulties of life being one of the greatest truths, the gem of wisdom in that understanding comes from understanding the other great truth – you can transcend your adversities by learning to mine the creativity in your internalized and externalized experiences of tension.