What grows in darkness?
I was deep in a conversation about how to use the DiSC profile to increase self-awareness and harness ways to communicate when my colleague asked, “What about the shadow side?” Of course, I responded, “What about it?”
Dr. Success Motto: You can spend time exploring your shadow, or you can continually work toward the light, but you can’t do both!
Yet my colleague offered that he was deeply committed to understanding the dark side – or shadow – so that he could help transform it. I offhandedly suggested that nothing worth having grows in the dark. Stay focused on the light as it will help you see where you are going, including making adjustments as you go along.
We then lightened the conversation and playfully attempted to find examples of things that grow in the dark.
Predator birds and animals seem to like the dark. Snakes, rats, even owls seem to like the dark. Mushrooms grow in the dark. There is a funny business joke that when you don’t want the boss to know what you are doing you should treat him or her like a mushroom. That means cover them in crap and keep them in the dark. So much for darkness.
Later that day, however, I thought about the blackness of the deepest parts of our oceans and how important life in the oceans is to our eco-system. Humans can’t live in the depths of the ocean, yet we are dependent on it remaining healthy to survive on earth. That then helped me appreciate the shadow side of the psyche a bit more. I have always wished adversity was not a necessary part of human existence yet accepted the evidence that it was and that adversity actually served to further human growth. I don’t understand why it works that way, but I accept that observation the same way I don’t understand how the organisms in the depths of the ocean help sustain life on earth. Seems my understanding is not necessary for something to be true.
I ended my little thought play by appreciating that when I look at my life objectively I spend far more time in the light than in the dark periods. For me adversity cannot be avoided, but its meaning no longer needs to be understood.
See what can come from a conversation about a self-assessment profile about how you communicate and how to build better relationships!