The Paradox of Power

the harder we push the more likely we are to be met with resistance

I experienced that this morning when I was untying my doubly slipped reef knot on my shoes. A doubly slipped reef knot is fancy speak for a “shoelace knot:”

The shoelace knot, or bow knot, is commonly used for tying shoelaces and bow ties. The shoelace knot is a doubly slipped reef knot formed by joining the ends of whatever is being tied with a half hitch, folding each of the exposed ends into a loop and joining the loops with a second half hitch.

Wikipedia

To untie my shoe, I pull on on an exposed shoelace end, but this time, as I pulled, the knot didn’t seamlessly come undone.

So I pulled harder.

Next thing I knew, I had a nasty knot that wouldn’t budge.

I spent the next five minutes using a combination of my teeth and nails to undo the knot and realized that I got tangled up (no pun intended) by pulling too hard. By pulling too hard (“pushing” in the paradox) I was met with even more resistance (a tangled knot).

So whether it’s a shoelace knot, an argument with a friend, or a high stakes negotiation, remember the paradox of power: the harder we push the more likely we are to be met with resistance.

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