Embracing Conflict


  1. A state of open, often prolonged fighting; a battle or war.
  2. A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interests; a clash.
  3. Psychology A psychic struggle, often unconscious, resulting from the opposition or simultaneous functioning of mutually exclusive impulses, desires, or tendencies.
  4. Opposition between characters or forces in a work of drama or fiction, especially opposition that motivates or shapes the action of the plot.

American Heritage Dictionary

We are taught, socialized, to abhor conflict and to “get along” with others. The more you go along, the more you get along and the more acceptable you are.

You are perceived as non-threatening. Unlikely to upset the status quo. Not inclined to think strange new thoughts or to make others strain their brains thinking them too.

You are safe, reliable, and a good “team player.”

If you remove all the “hot” ideas, and then the “cold” ideas, what do you get? Luke warm, tepid bath water.

This is the formula for mediocrity and conformity. It is the antithesis of what’s required for extraordinary achievement – to reach for and obtain top 1% status.

To break through barriers to extreme success one must constantly challenge old beliefs. Discard outmoded paradigms. Confront the “experts” and better yet dare to become your own expert.

This describes conflict. Conflict is necessary for the above to happen.

Most people have conflict avoidance syndrome. They get perplexed, nervous, upset, and disturbed at the merest hint of a conflict.

Consider Gandhi, Martin Luther King, George Washington, and other giants of history. What is the common thread? Not only did they not avoid conflict, they sought it out.

They embraced conflict knowing that this was the road to change and pushing things forward to a brighter future.

Look within and observe your reactions to a heated argument, biting criticism, intellectual battle of wills, clashes of personalities and egos. What is it that upsets you so? That you may have to think rigorously? Give up cherished beliefs? Be dragged out of your comfort zone into the big world outside?

Here is your path to greatness.