The Interplay of Certainty and Flexibility

This quick pen on paper sketch from the other night got me thinking about the interplay of certainty and flexibility in life…

I love to draw both in an app on my iPad and on paper. In the app, nothing is permanent. Every line can be erased, every shape can be modified, and every colour can be changed in one quick tap.

That said, when I’m sketching in a sketchbook with ink, the stakes are much higher. Every line is permanent. I need to take more time, be more precise, and somehow integrate my “mistakes” into the drawing.

I think life is a little like this too… there are times when we have lots of room to maneuver – like in coaching sessions when I’m helping a client prepare for a difficult conversation. We test out different approaches, experiment, and play with multiple options and scenarios.

And similarly there are also times in life when the stakes are higher and every “line” counts – like in the actual conversation itself.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t be conscientious when the stakes are low… or that we can’t be flexible when they’re high. Recognizing the difference in contexts and how this might impact the way we approach things is what’s key here.

So I’m curious… what does this drawing metaphor evoke in you?

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