The Genius of AND | #MyFridayStory №111

Frans Nel
2 min readJul 19, 2020

From an early age, we learn to label and define. For example, we learn that we have to choose between being a lawyer or a DJ, a nurse or a musician, a web developer or a chef.

In 1994, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras published their research findings in the now-iconic book “Built to Last — Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.” The interlude is titled:

No ‘Tyranny of the OR’

Their research revealed that visionary companies reject choosing between one practical business dimension over another. Instead, they liberate themselves by saying, rather than, They are able to embrace both extremes over a number of dimensions, at the same time. They are not merely balancing their efforts at the mid-way point on a continuum or making a 50/50 compromise. No. But rather, as Collins and Porras explain, visionary companies embrace:

For example, a company can seek to perform well in the short-term invest in the long-term. It can aim to be highly profitable be highly idealistic. It can be conservative at its core be bold and risky. It can pursue purpose beyond profit be pragmatic in that pursuit.

By embracing the ‘Genius of the AND,’ both people and companies are able to bridge what at first appears to be a paradox. For example: Being free being responsible. Being caring being strong-willed. Being open to change maintaining the status quo. Being creative disciplined. Being spontaneous calculating.

To be a complete person requires us to embrace the Genius of the . As an employee, as an employer, as a customer, as a patient, as a teacher, as a student, as a parent, as a husband, as a caregiver, or as a caretaker, whatever your capacity, you are able to apply the Genius of AND.

Whether we consciously recognise it or not, we are all both artistic and logical. We can be both open-minded detail-oriented. We have brawn we have brains. When we allow ourselves to simultaneously toggle back and forth between these two, our true value is revealed.

As you go through your day, be more aware of your ability to say instead of to different situations. The outcome is hugely liberating and will add great value to your life.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Have an awesome weekend! 😄

Originally published at on July 19, 2020.