I’m going to say something a touch controversial, but please stick with me. I think by the end of this post, you’ll agree.

Here it is: in our individual lives, true and complete peace isn’t possible. 

Not only that — it isn’t necessary.

And more importantly, you probably don’t really want it!

Before you despair, let me explain.

We all hate conflict — well, most of us do, and some more than others. And negative conflict, toxic conflict, is something we can and should rid ourselves of. In that regard, peace is a worthy goal.

But peace in the sense of no conflict at all? Well, I don’t think anybody truly wants that, and I don’t think anybody would benefit from it. 

As a species, we need healthy conflict and competition to feel alive, to keep us humble, to sharpen our wisdom, to get better, to find our purpose and meaning. Positive conflict, like weights at the gym, provides the resistance that builds muscles! If life were too good, too conflict-free, our muscles of change, growth, and dynamic human evolution would atrophy. 

Bad conflict is personal, calling people names, insulting them and blaming them for the everything. Good conflict solves problems and is a means of learning how to disagree without any underlying stress. That doesn’t mean we lose our passions, energy or emotions. But it also means we don’t lose our respect, humanity or elasticity of mind and thought. It’s joyfully letting your mind be changed, or changing someone else’s without the need to be superior or humiliating them. It’s you and your coworker pushing yourselves to improve your skills and mastery through competition — and celebrating no matter who wins.

Great conflict, healthy conflict, is essential.