Roadmap: Transitioning from catastrophes to paradoxes

March 15, 2021 ~ Written by: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner
Approx. Read Time: 8 Minutes

“Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.” – Buddha


Needless to say, the challenge of integrating science, business and neuroscience has led to a potpourri of articles since we started. Usually, they are just a collection of independent topics that seem relevant in the context of personal, business and current happenings that now exceed a collection of over 100 articles.

We have specifically done our best to respond to current events per the ‘COVID series’ and looking ahead we will get back to ‘business as usual’ by resuming our series on paradoxes. This is not to suggest that the “Full Catastrophe Living” associated with COVID has passed, but after presenting several perspectives to encourage looking ahead, it seems the time is right for some traditional topics.

Looking Back

 “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

With the COVID-19 outcome still pending, climate issues looming (that will likely dwarf COVID-19) and a backdrop of social and other inequalities, we have struggled to describe how best to orient our team and the many individuals we touch through our commercial, philanthropic and impact activities. In this context, the current situation epitomizes the well known title of a classic by Jon Kabat Zinn (#2)  wherein he describes “full catastrophe living” which is a reference to the response of Zorba the Greek:

“Zorba’s response embodies a supreme appreciation for the richness of life and the inevitability of all its dilemmas, sorrows, traumas, tragedies, and ironies.  His way is to “dance” in the gale of the full catastrophe, to celebrate life, to laugh with it and at himself, even in the face  personal failure and defeat. In doing so, he is never weighed down for long, never ultimately defeated either by the world or by his own considerable folly.”


  1. How To Brew a Cocktail That Will Make You Feel Better
  2. Worrier vs. Warrior
  3. A Metaphor For The Times
  4. A Powerful Arrow For Your Catastrophe Quiver 
  5. How To Use Your Vagal Lifeline
  6. Look Up, Look Down, Look up…..
  7. Time To Catch Your Second Wind

Given the amount of positive feedback we have received on these articles above, I encourage you (if you have not already) to spend a bit of time reading them.


“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.” – Niels Bohr

Background on the series

I expect I have already written dozens of articles that illustrate paradoxes related to the disconnect between neuroscience/psychology and business.

These articles have been somewhat detailed in nature, so likely not on the tip of your tongue. Incidentally, rather than paint paradoxes as all doom and gloom, I would remind the reader of the ‘silver lining’ that there is nothing like a paradox to create humility.

Looking way back (September 2018) I titled this series 10 Paradoxes that Will Bite You in the Ass (1st in Series). Looking ahead, several of these may not have such a viscous context, but you are very well served to keep them in mind.


One of the (many) fascinating aspects of paradoxes is the variety of contexts in which they appear. Let’s start with some textbook definitions – starting with Wikipedia (#4):

  • A paradox, also known as an antinomy, is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one’s expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-contradictory or a logically unacceptable conclusion.

Also, a few additional universal source examples that will be very relevant to upcoming articles as cited from Oxford Languages (#3):

  • A situation,  person or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.
  • A statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-contradictory.
  • A seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which, when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

Each of these definitions will be illustrated in the upcoming articles.

Moving on from what is covered – to why: I illustrate the power of paradoxes, but to leverage the idea of Heracleous and Robson (#1):

  • “Although paradoxes often trip us up, embracing contradictory ideas may actually be the secret to creativity and leadership.”
    • Incongruity
    • Sublime
  • “Over a series of studies, psychologists and organizational scientists have found that people who learn to embrace, rather than reject, opposing demands show greater creativity, flexibility and productivity. “

In the Works

The next few articles are intended to provide examples and insights related to paradoxes. Looking ahead, they will carry banners such as:

  1. Are Business Issues More Important Than People Issues?
  2. An Illustration of People-Based Business
  3. From the Sublime to the Ridiculous
  4. Can Incongruities and Similarities Take You To The Same Place?
  5. Here We Go Again – Promoting Laughter as a Panacea!

As always, I try to react to the world around us – you can expect detours!

“The measure of your enlightenment is the degree to which you are comfortable with paradox, contradiction, and ambiguity.” – Deepak Chopra


  1. Loizos Heracleous and David Robson – Why the ‘paradox mindset’ is the key to success
  2. Jon Kabat-Zinn – Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
  3. Oxford Dictionary
  4. Wikipedia

Relevant Business Brain Model articles:

  1. How To Brew a Cocktail That Will Make You Feel Better
  2. Worrier vs. Warrior
  3. A Metaphor For The Times
  4. A Powerful Arrow For Your Catastrophe Quiver 
  5. How To Use Your Vagal Lifeline
  6. Look Up, Look Down, Look up…..
  7. Time To Catch Your Second Wind
  8. 10 Paradoxes that Will Bite You in the Ass (1st in Series)

About the Author: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist with more than 50 years of business success. He is not a scientist or an academic but he does have a diversified exposure to neuroscience, psychology and related cognitive sciences. Generally speaking, the ideas he expresses here are business-angled expansions of other people’s ideas, so when possible, he will link to the original reference.