Monday Morning Motivations


Stephen Tang

In my 1988 Ph.D. dissertation in chemical engineering from Lehigh University, I referenced “synchronicity” in my Acknowledgements. Renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity emphasizes the idea that all events and experiences, no matter how seemingly unrelated, are connected on a deeper, spiritual level. Jung viewed synchronicity as meaningful coincidences which could not be explained by chance. Jung believed that synchronistic events indicated the collective unconscious at work and were often interpreted as signs from the universe with hidden messages to help guide us through life. I’ll admit that it’s not typical for a biotechnologist to credit a psychologist in scholarly work, now or then, yet it resonates with my experiences.

Forty years ago, the new-wave band, The Police, debuted the song “Synchronicity I” which was part of the soundtrack for my graduate school years.

They sang:

“A connecting principle

Linked to the invisible

Almost imperceptible

Something inexpressible

Science insusceptible

Logic so inflexible

Causally connectible

Yet nothing is invincible”

I’ve been fascinated by synchronicity and the role it has played throughout my life. More about that in my upcoming book, “A Test for Our Time: Crisis Leadership in the Next Normal,” when it debuts in the spring. That’s why I took notice of the Jungian quote, “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens” which appeared several times from different sources in my recent reading.

When we look outward in search of answers, it can often lead to dreaming—both literally and figuratively. For example, when trying to figure out what career path we should take, we might dream about a certain job that could bring us success and satisfaction. On the flip side, when we look within ourselves—or inward—our minds become more active as we reflect on our passions and purpose. This type of introspection often leads to a moment of awakening wherein we gain clarity and understanding about our direction in life.

Carl Jung’s quote challenges us to look within ourselves instead of relying solely on external guidance or advice when trying to figure out our true purpose in life. It encourages us to seek out our own answers rather than chasing someone else’s version of success. By exploring our inner world, we can awaken the potential within us and create a life that is uniquely our own.

By understanding the meaning behind Jung’s quote, we are empowered to take ownership of our own development and growth as individuals. We can look both outward for inspiration and inward for wisdom, using each approach to guide us on our journey through life toward true self-fulfillment.

There is delicious symmetry for me about the coincidence of this concept of coincidence which led me to this quote. I hope you find meaning in it too.

#ATestForOurTime #CrisisLeadership #NextNormal

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