By Mark Andrew Beach
I remember in the seventh grade my science teacher lecturing us that, “to every action in the universe, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is the scientist’s way of describing the Law of Polarity. My Sunday school teacher taught me the same truth in a slightly different way. She said that in the scriptures we are taught that there is right and wrong, good and evil, heaven and hell, or in other words, opposition in all things. Through over fifty years of practical life experience, I have learned how to avoid one condition, while seeking the other.
Yet, there is so much more to the law of polarity than what science, religion and life teach in their simple descriptions. Chuck Danes taught that the Law of Polarity teaches that “within the darkest of life’s perceived trials and hardships lies the mean as well as the ability to find and experience the light.”
Napoleon Hill, author of The Laws of Success taught that every cloud of adversity contains within it the seeds of finding and exploiting its silver lining. He also taught,
“If you have tried and met with defeat, if you have planned and watched your plans as they were crushed before your eyes, Just remember that the greatest men in all history were the products of courage, and courage, you know is born in the cradle of adversity.”
Learning to fully understand, comprehend and master the Law of Polarity does not require that I look at the world through some sort of Pollyanna lenses, requiring that I see only the good in everything. Rather, it is necessary for me to understand and cultivate this sense of opposites in order to achieve the sense of harmony, fulfillment and well being that I consciously desire and have the potential as well as the ability to fully explore and experience in my life.
I have participated in many job interviews over the past 30 years. In some, I was the interviewee and in most, I have been the interviewer. I’ve noticed and even used myself, what has become a very common line of questioning during these job interviews over the past few years. The questions center on asking the interviewee what are their greatest strengths. After, listening carefully to their answers, I often ask, “Now please share with me your greatest weaknesses.”
When I ask that question, more often than not, I am able to guess the applicant’s answer before they give it, assuming they are being truthful. Why? Because my greatest strength and greatest weakness are opposite sides of the same coin. Moreover, my greatest weakness is often my strength pushed to unhealthy extremes. Can you begin to see the Law of Polarity in this instance?
Let me tell on myself for a minute. For me, one of my greatest strengths is honesty and integrity. I am a man that says what I mean, and I mean what I say. I am constantly checking to make sure that what I say and what I do is congruent. For me, integrity is also about me keeping my word when I make an agreement. For me, a contract serves the purpose of reminding me what I agree to, while my handshake is as strong as my signature.
So what is my weakness in this case? I expect the same standards from others and I tend to get very upset when others do not live up to the bar I set for myself. Admittedly, it has cost me personal and professional relationships when I have pushed someone too far. But why would I attract people who are dishonest and have no integrity into my life if this were such a big part of who I am?
There is yet a deeper and darker side to this personality characteristic of mine. The Law of Attraction teaches that “like attracts like”, so in spite of my strength, why do I “attract” liars and promise-breakers into my personal and professional life? Another facet of my weakness is that somewhere deep down inside, I struggle with fear of my own lack of credibility. I fear that I may consider myself a hypocrite, unqualified to do what I do, thus attracting people with these character defects.
So the Law of Polarity literally exists within each and every one of us. We have our gifts and talents and light that we share with the world, while at the same time fearfully guarding our secret innermost shadows. These manifest themselves in our strengths and weaknesses.
I have learned the law of Polarity exists as a means to empower me to explore and experience life to the fullest. I have learned through personal experience that if poverty did not exist how would I know what it was like to experience wealth? If my “failures” did not exist how would I know what it is to experience success? If I experienced no such thing as pain, both physical and emotional, I could not fully enjoy and appreciate what it means to experience joy.
The Law of Polarity exists as a means to empower me to learn and discover that within every perceived problem lies its solution, within every perceived failure also lays the seeds or solution to succeed.