The Problem of Solomon’s Paradox
King Solomon, as the story goes, offered wisdom and counsel so highly valued that leaders across the world would travel for days to hear his advice. His sage judgment was both profound and clairvoyant.
However, as wise as he was with other people’s problems, he was equally unwise with his own. His personal life was a train wreck of bad decisions and unbridled passions. His everyday life was a muddle of problems that grew along with his poor choices.
Solomon’s Paradox reflects this inherent contradiction, where a person is skilled at analyzing others’ problems with aplomb but horrible at directing this same reasoning and judgment at their own problems and issues.
Experiencing Solomon’s Paradox is quite common and a flaw shared by many leaders. We are all less adept at seeing ourselves clearly and objectively, which is precisely why we need feedback from others. The real weakness comes from not recognizing this paradox, thereby living in denial, making lesser choices in our own lives.
How can some leaders be so good at seeing problems in others so clearly, yet fail to apply those same skills to themselves? The answer lies with distance. The closer we are to a problem, the less likely we are to see it clearly and without personal bias. Everything that grants us some distance from an issue allows us to use our reasoning skills unabated by vanity and personal agenda. This applies doubly to ourselves. Gaining distance through feedback and reflection gives us a critical vantage. That view is worthy of a king.