How to Reframe Opposition Into Opportunity

On One Hand!

Have you ever awakened to the realization that you hold a perspective that doesn’t serve you well?  Sometime it hits you like a jack-hammer and other times like one made of velvet.

A few events hit me recently that gave me an awareness and realization of the velvet-hammer variety.  First, I picked myself up and dusted off my proverbial knees. Next, it dawned on me that my perspective about opposition was flawed: I viewed it as something to be overcome and eliminated. The problem with that perspective is that it sees opposition as an impediment to be eliminated instead of a requirement for growth.

Growth requires encountering and overcoming opposition of some kind. Whether it’s a seed overcoming the confines of the soil or an extreme challenge, both involve opposition….and in fact, by definition, require it.

Overcoming does not mean eliminating, and there’s a big difference. If we expect opposition to be eliminated, we are going to be sorely disappointed. Based on past performance, we know opposition will continually show up in some form in our lives. Sometimes it comes in the form of a person, thing or circumstance, but the one constant is that it will show up.

Our perspective of opposition will determine whether we are disappointed or whether we are expectant and ready. Perspective also greatly impacts our choice in how we push against the resistance that opposition brings; whether we grow through it or whether we disengage.  Exactly how we push can make all the difference in the world.0295 OppositionFred II

So if elimination isn’t an empowering perspective, what’s a good way to reframe it? In a word: Leverage. Leverage means positioning something in order to gain an advantage. And in this case,  that advantage is knowing how to push against the opposition with optimum efficiency/effectiveness for growth.

A great metaphor for leverage and opposition is the human hand, which is unique in creation.  The thing that makes the hand so distinguishing is that it carries it’s own opposition, the thumb. Knowing just how, when and where to place the thumb and what kind of pressure to apply against the other fingers is why it’s so effective. In fact, without opposition the thumb becomes essentially worthless compared to what it otherwise could be.

There are obviously many kinds of opposition and the use of a single metaphor for leverage can be overly simplistic. However, I do think the 80/20 rule applies in this case and goes a long way in helping reframe our perspective of opposition.

How does your present view of opposition leverage you for growth and success…..or is it sabotaging you? What needs to change?

Please leave a comment, even it’s in opposition 🙂

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

2 thoughts on “How to Reframe Opposition Into Opportunity

  1. Through the years I have discovered that opposition is my friend. When people oppose the direction I am trying to lead in it either protects me or refines my direction. Opposition makes me think, plan and prepare better than I ever would have without it. In truth, our enemies are some of our best friends.

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