No one likes to appear weak. Oftentimes, we perceive vulnerability as weakness. But can it actually be strength?
Appearing vulnerable means, necessarily, displaying a shortcoming of some sort. That, in turn, means showing some sort of weakness. That would seem to be a bad thing.
But might there be a hidden benefit to appearing vulnerable, and therefore weak? What might those benefits be?
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the question ‘What belief do you have that might be wrong?’ Stay tuned for a bonus question, ‘What makes a place feel like home?’
Alternately, it might be best never to show your vulnerabilities. Is that even possible? Or desirable?
Can you think of situations or instances where revealing a weakness might be a good thing? Can vulnerability be strength? When might that be? What risks might there be?
Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? What is uncomfortable but rewarding?
The proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Do you think that is true? Do you prefer to do things alone or with other people? How large a group?
Share why if you wish.
There are a number of things in life that we might find uncomfortable. Discomfort can be found all around us, in both our personal and professional lives.
These can range from something relatively innocuous (say, an itchy sweater) to something more serious (like an inappropriate joke at work). For the most part, we experience discomfort for a reason. Typically, it is an indication that something is wrong.
Sometimes, however, a feeling of discomfort can be prelude to an improvement of some sort. Most people like things that are stable, and events or people that upset that stability, even in the process of making an improvement, can be disruptive. Change is uncomfortable.
Over the last decade or so, disruption has even become a buzzword in the business (and tech) world. AirBNB has disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Used in this way, the word “disruption” suggests a change introduced that may cause chaos to an established industry or service, but ultimately leads to a better product for the consumer.
What are some other examples of something that starts out being awkward or difficult, but ultimately lead to positive change or growth? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? How can we tell “positive” discomfort from the “negative”?
Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When is doubt helpful?
What kinds of tasks would you like an assistant to help with? Are they things you don’t like doing, or would you just do even more of what you like?
Share why if you wish.
Intellectual Roundtable needs your help.
For more than a year, we have been publishing a new question every Sunday, designed to bring some quiet contemplation to your otherwise busy lives. As time goes on, the number of people visiting the site has been steadily decreasing. Fewer and fewer people are answering the questions, or are even being exposed to them.
We’re looking for ways to reverse this trend, and have more people read the questions, answer them, and interact with others doing the same.
Hence our question: How can you help? You might look through our list of past questions, find one that you like, and answer it. Maybe you can propose a question of your own using our online form. Perhaps you can share the blog on Facebook, via email, or other social media platforms via the icons on each page. Even if you don’t want to contribute to content in any way, you can provide some feedback about what does or doesn’t work for you with what we are doing and how we are doing it.
But there’s a second meaning to the question as well. In your life, there will always be people or causes that you care deeply about. Something may be a passion project for you or for your community. How can you bring attention to a cause, or take actual, concrete steps toward improving or enhancing something you care about? What are the ways you can strengthen bonds between you and loved ones?
How can you help?
Related questions: How can we turn ideas into actions? What are our responsibilities to others? What makes a community? How do you define success?