There Is Always Some ‘Good’ in ‘Bad’ and Some ‘Bad’ in ‘Good’

Are you confused yet?

Life is rarely straightforward. You can almost always find the “good” in bad circumstances and the “bad” in good circumstances….or people… or things. There is always a principle of yin and yang at play.

Like anger. Anger in itself is not a bad emotion, even though we tend to categorize it as a not-so-good emotion (not in the “feel-good” category anyway). But emotions are neutral and how we respond to it is what really counts. Anger, if we let it lead us, can provoke us to stupidity or challenge us to put our foot down and finally do that great thing.

We are both good and bad

People too, are a myriad of both good and bad. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not all good. I am human and there is both good and bad in me. I am good at some aspects and bad at others. I’m just glad there are others to balance me out (like my wife – thank you Kate).

Yin and Yang – No shadow without light

This idea of balancing comes from the principle of Yin and Yang which is a belief that “all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites”. Let’s think about some everyday examples – female-male, day-night and old-young. There is just something about opposites that attract and complement each other. In fact, some opposites almost depend on one another to shine. For example, there is simply no shadow without light and what is goodness without evil?

Modernizing the principle

The concept of yin-yang has a long history. There are many written records about yin and yang, some dating back to the Yin dynasty (about 1400–1100 BCE) and the Western Zhou dynasty (1100–771 BCE).

Today, you see it adopted in secular business philosophies even by western cultures! You can read about the balance of soft vs hard management styles or the yin-yang relationship between concepts such as strategy and execution in well-respected business forums.

My yin and yang approach to life

The way I like to go about life is to read the room and go on the opposing side. When the crowd goes “yin”, I go “yang”. History has shown that true heroes rise from places people least expect. When the market is fixated on path A, a disrupter creates his own path and rises above the competition. That has been the story of the Teslas and Apples of this world and that has always been my approach to life. Yin and yang form the undercurrent in which I run my law firm.

I disrupt by being against corruption

Sad to say, corruption is still very much commonplace in Vietnam… even in the legal industry; even though we are an institution ordained with the aspirational role of governing justice and morals. So in a corrupted market, where people assume money can solve everything, I am a disrupter. Integrity will always win out and you will always find me at the opposing end of this argument. What is wrong will always remain wrong and what is right will always stand the test of time.

My final thoughts

I have so many more examples of how I exercise the push and pull of yin and yang in my everyday life but I shall save it for another time. A person who can master Yin and Yang knows how far to go and how much to pull back to achieve a harmonious balance. To see beyond the obvious and go deeper to not just survive but to thrive.