Decisions, results, and teachings are often framed using dichotomies. This is where one side of a story is opposed or entirely different from the other side. Black and white, win or lose, yes or no, good or bad, left brain right brain; this idea. It is easy to frame a decision or a result into a specific category when it is completely opposed to the other, leaving no room for debate or argument.
As I have grown older, I have realized that the world is more nuanced than this. There are often differences in point of view that build on each other, and diversity in perspective that expands the possibility of any issue. Nuance is actually a good thing.
Grounded or Spiritual
When it comes to personal development, people can be loosely categorized into two groups. On one side are the realists, and on the other side are the dreamers.
Let me start with the realists. Success for them is based on reaching their goals, following a plan, and putting in the hard work that is necessary to achieve it. If it has been done before, it can therefore by role-modeled and followed. Happiness is achieved when they get ‘there’.
As for the dreamers, success is predominantly centered on feeling, energy, and connection. They focus on cultivating positive thoughts, following their feelings towards good intentions, and relying on hunches that will lead to the manifestation of their desires.
The Two Sides of Being Grounded or Spiritual
When we start to look at different people, even successful leaders, it is often noticeable as to which side of this spectrum these people lean. Although this is a generalization, this is the basic dichotomy of personality and personal growth. Is one side better than the other?
Take the topic of ‘work ethic’ for instance. Is it better for someone to stay up late until 2 am every morning to crush their goals, or is it better that they should lead with their heart and cultivate the energy that attracts their goals each day?
When starting something new, is it more important to have a plan to follow, or to get started right away and learn as you go?
In my opinion, both sides work. The realists and the dreamers would both disagree.
The Merit that Each Perspective Brings
There is merit to both sides of the conversation, grounded and spiritual, where it is evident that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness.
For example, no longer is the success of a business solely determined by the efficiency of its operations. It is now and will be determined even more going forward by the value that it provides to its customers and how it ultimately contributes to society.
Furthermore, the straight-A student will no longer be the only applicable candidate for acceptance to various institutions. Committees are now looking for well-rounded and diverse individuals who bring more than just good marks to the table.
If you are naturally more of a realist, spending time in new spiritual connections will expand perspective. If you are more inclined to spirituality and energy, being more intentional towards planning and work ethic will also expand perspective.
Back to ‘work ethic’ – there is merit in grinding out a late night, as well following your heart and cultivating positive energy. When starting something new – there is merit in having both a calculated plan, as well as jumping in with faith and getting started. Both sides work.
Can We Change This?
It is true that like attracts like. We tend to hang around people that are similar to us, date people with similar values and beliefs, and we tend to follow hobbies, activities, and events that interest us the most.
It is also true that opposites attract. People with certain values are often most compatible with others who have a totally opposed value system, and the strongest teams are often formed of members who bring specific and unique skillsets.
Yet it is also a fact that nothing is a constant. Life is about growth, and growth requires change. Anyone on one side of a spectrum can take steps to move further towards the other side. This includes personality types. These challenging moments of change and newness forge the understanding of being aware of the value that both perspectives collectively bring forward.
Being a realist is great. And so is having spiritual tendencies. Instead of being considered a dichotomy, realism and spirituality need to be considered as compliments in personal growth and personality. The tendency to think only black or white is short-sighted. Let’s think grey.