The Heart of Innovation is Conflict

The Carrot Seed provides me a tiny little forum to nudge the boundaries of our actions and thoughts and words and intentions and expectations. Toward kindness. Toward peace.

And so. I find myself in a bit of an awkward situation because through this nudging I have caused a conflict.

And if feels uncomfortable. Terribly clumsy. To be avoided at all costs. I’ve been taught all my life that conflict is bad.

But is it?

Ari Wallach, the founder of Synthesis says,

“There is a false premise that innovation is about ideas. But ideas are actually relatively simple to come up with. True innovation is about culture and execution. The heart of innovation is conflict – you are challenging the status quo.”

The heart of innovation is conflict.

For me, that has meant being kinder to myself and thereby somehow seeming less kind nice to others. Ā I was such an easy target for “unkindness” because I have always felt like I should put other people’s needs before mine. Always trying to avoid conflict by absorbing the blows (including the “unintentional” ones.) Or by allowing myself to be subjugated by always attempting to be “nice.”

Here’s what I’ve learned. When you are mean to yourself, others think that they can be mean to you too.

By finally understanding that this was serving no one, I abruptly put a stop to it. And have given notice (whether directly or indirectly) to those around me to do the same. There have been a few casualties. Thus the conflict.

I am learning that to be genuinely kind, to be authentic, to act without resentment we need to have the utmost compassion for ourselves first. Without compassion for ourselves, our motives become impure. If we mistreat ourselves and allow others to do so as well, we are being kind to no one.

Kind of crazy.

Without conflict there is no innovation. There is no growth. While it seems counterintuitive, in today’s world, in order to foster kindness we will need to overcome any number of difficulties and conflicts. Isn’t that true innovation. Create conflict for peace.


8 thoughts on “The Heart of Innovation is Conflict

  1. Anne, Can relate to your post as I have been a conflict avoider all my life. I too am striving to be more authentic and that is having some interesting consequences….hopefully some growth – not sure about peace though! Thankfully we will have lots of conflict to deal with in the garden (weeds) which will give us good training:) Have you read about the Enneagram? I have a good book if you are interested in learning more.

    • Love practicing by weeding the garden! (and can’t wait to get started!) I knew there was more to my pulling up the dandelions in my front yard šŸ™‚ I’ve done the Myers-Briggs but am not familiar with Enneagram. Would love to hear more šŸ™‚

    • Totally – I just had a conversation with a friend about being authentic and honest and having the courage to make waves. And what a difference that will make. Thanks Vince!

  2. Many, man conflicts in my life have been caused by the very act of trying to avoid them. That’s one of the things I’m trying to work on in my practice – just being with the conflict and accepting that it exists without trying to change it. It’s definitely challenging!

    • Spot on! I’m reading The Buddha Walks into a Bar, by Lodro Rinzler and it’s been full of awesome reminders and tips that speak to just that. Acceptance of what is. Thanks ZenJen!

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