Type in the word “contrast” on Google and you get the following definition:
“The state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association.”
Not such an exciting definition and definitely not something we think about on a daily basis, but it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Contrast plays such an important roll in our lives, that it’s significance should be taught to every child at every school and in every home. Bold declaration I know, but I stand by it.
Why, you may say? Because contrast serves as the basis for growth and evolution in our world.
To understand why, let’s dive a little deeper than the surface definition you read above and learn how to leverage contrast to create your best life.
A deeper dive into contrast
We live in a relative world. Meaning any thing you can think of can only exist in relation to something else. To borrow a concept from Conversations with God, left can only exist if there is a right. Up can only exist if there is a down.
You, as you know, yourself can only exist in relation to something else.
If you were raised in a complete void, you would have no sense of identity because there would be nothing to define yourself against. Hard to wrap your head around I know, but it’s enough to understand it intuitively.
In other words, we define ourselves through contrast. And, to take it to another level, we are constantly defining ourselves through contrast. And this is why it’s so important. There is no way for us, or any living thing for that matter, to evolve and grow without something else to compare it against.
Examples of contrast
To use a silly example, figuring out your favorite flavor of ice cream (peanut butter and chocolate for me), can only be determined by trying at least one more flavor of ice cream.
To use a more common example, you’d have no sense of your wealth status (rich, poor, middle class) if there was no one else who had money. And if you had no sense of your wealth status, then you’d have no desire to want more money.
If you could not compare your health to someone else’s you’d have no desire to achieve specific health goals.
If you could not compare your looks to what society deems to be good looking, you’d have no desire to look a certain way.
I can fill a book full of examples, but I think you get the point. A desire to be, do or have anything can only be born in contrast to something else. And we understand this on an unconscious level. We are always (that is in all ways) comparing ourselves to something else with the intent of growing and evolving.
Why most people don’t leverage contrast
The problem is most of us don’t even know we’re doing it. It is so much a part of who we are, that it’s an unconscious behavior. The fact that it’s an unconscious behavior is necessary (otherwise we’d drive ourselves crazy), the problem is we’re not aware of when we experience contrast and a new desire comes out it.
Whenever you have an unwanted experience, you automatically know that you don’t want that experience again. But at the same time, you also automatically know what you do want.
To use an example, your car breaks down and it’s an unanticipated expense that you can’t afford. You automatically know that you don’t want to have that experience again (not being able to afford something unexpected). But with that experience you also know what you do want. Namely, to have enough money to never worry about unanticipated expenses again.
Two sides of the same stick were just created. What you don’t want and what you do want.
That’s contrast in action. And it’s the movement towards that which you want, which came out of that contrast, that leads to the growth and evolution of who you are and who the world is.
How to leverage contrast to make the best life
Now, a lot of people tend to get stuck in the not wanting of something (i.e. not wanting to be poor, not wanting to be sick, not wanting to be alone). That becomes their focal point and eventually their dominant vibration, leading to the manifestation of that which they don’t want.
But that’s because they don’t understand the implications of contrast and that a positive desire also emanated from that experience. Once you understand it though, you place yourself in a position to move in the direction of what you do want more quickly.
Or in other words, you are moving into a clarified definition of who you want to be.
Contrast works on a macro level
Contrast also works on a macro level. Towns, cities, states (or provinces), countries, continents, regions and ultimately the world is also always experiencing contrast and we collectively decide to move towards that which is wanted or unwanted.
The war against drugs (which by the way focuses on the unwanted) is a perfect example. The government, deeming drugs illegal, decided to fight against the illegal distribution of these drugs, trying to remove it from society (but failing miserably because they focused on not wanting illegal drugs to be distributed, as opposed to wanting a healthy law-abiding country).
Countries that formed the EU is another example of wanting to open trade and movement across these countries.
The Holocaust led to the creation of Israel and the United Nations.
The great recession of 2008 led to tighter regulations in the financial and real estate markets.
9/11 and the associated attack on the US led to the fight against terrorism.
Again, there are countless examples, and while many attempts at growth fail as societies are focused on the unwanted, many have succeeded or are succeeding (technology, health, mental health, diversity) as well, catapulting our world into a better place (think 200 years ago to today).
Of course, this begs the question, where are you going to shift your focus after experiencing contrast moving forward? On the unwanted or the wanted. Be aware, that your initial focus will always be on the unwanted. That’s just how it is. It is a question of how fast you can move your attention to the wanted (leveraging the power of momentum in the process).
So, now you understand how contrast works and why it’s so important. And how it serves as the backbone to all progression in our societies. And now you understand why it’s so important to spread this idea to as many people as possible. Imagine what we could accomplish if we, as a society, learned how to shift our focus to that which is wanted every time we experience contrast. Our world would change almost overnight. Again, a bold idea I know, but I’m sure you can sense the power in what I’m saying. And if you do, or if this resonates with you, please share it far and wide. Let’s spread the word.