Cutting the Gordian Knot

In ancient Greek legend, a complex knot tied an oxcart in place near the palace of former kings. The Phrygians were at the time without a king and an oracle declared that any man who could unravel the elaborate knots would be destined to become the ruler of all of Asia. In 333 BC Alexander the Great was challenged to untie the knot. Instead of laboriously untangling it, he sliced through the knot with his sword and later went on to fulfill the prophecy. The story is now a metaphor for seemingly intractable problems being solved by using direct, novel, rule-bending, decisive, or even genius solutions.

In a discussion with a friend recently, we discovered this metaphor as a dilemma was solved. The problem was long-standing and ‘the way it had always been,’ exemplifying previous decisions that were simply out of date.  In the process, I realized that as we evolve and change so too must our habits, ways of working, reactions, and abilities to change perspective.

The state of mind which created decisions a few years, or even months ago, often no longer represents us or simply doesn’t work anymore. And therefore the solutions to catching up to where we really are or to where we want to go can be intuitive, quick, and decisive and slice through all our previous perceptions. This is artful personal creativity performed by stepping out of the proverbial box and allowing inspired actions to transform us in the blink of an eye.

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