Newspapers and news websites attract readers by reporting and recording conflict.
Our TV programmes, be they drama, crime, reality or biographical have conflict as the basis of their content.
All sport by its nature, is based on conflict ultimately producing a victor.
Academia is arguably conflict ridden. Robust debate is necessary to progress our learnings. Inquisitive and questioning minds must have an outlet to express, to argue, to resolve and then create.
Competition in business also represents a conflict of competing products. Witness a discussion between an advocate of Android or Windows and a devotee of Apple, and you will witness the playing out of conflict.
My reading this week has included several articles arguing we should all be following our passions to the exclusion of all else. In really simple terms, the argument is, if we follow our passions with devoted and serious intent, the world will deliver.
Equally, I have read articles advocating following not our passion, but the path dictated by what we are good at. If we do this with intensity, success will follow.
What does it all mean?
Dig a little deeper, and chances are for most of us, they are one and the same.
The probability is, what we are passionate about came about by way of pursuing and practicing what it is we are good at, and visa a versa.
Perhaps the only thing we really need to do is be honest with ourselves about how we want to live our life and then set about doing it.
And as I have written previously, this takes courage and persistence because many people who seek to influence us, also judge and pass judgement on us. We are tempted to make decisions and act based on what is deemed acceptable to those around us.
Chances are, every great artist at some time was under the influence of others to follow a more conventional path. The same perhaps could be said of successful professional sports people. Get an education, get a job and stop spending all your time kicking that ball, riding that bike, (insert your chosen activity).
The great inventions of the world have followed very many failed experiments. The scientists with inquisitive minds would almost certainly have been under pressure to desist and dedicate their energies elsewhere.
Ask Di Vinci, Einstein, Edison; ask the Wright Brothers, Karl Benz, Alexander Fleming; ask Beethoven, Mozart, Lennon; ask Jobs, Musk and I am sure at some time before achieving success they would all have resisted pressure to give up and follow a more conventional, conservative route.
Perhaps conflict brings out the best in people. Perhaps conflict is necessary to harden resolve and to test our commitment to what is important to us, to what feels right. Perhaps we need conflict to test us and how we respond dictates our life’s direction.
It is easy to subordinate to the conventional, the normal, but doing so may well numb creativity and invention.
It is harder to follow the path we feel is right, but far more rewarding.