10 Paradoxes That Give Us Wisdom
Digging deeper into universal truths.
Some of life's universal truths appear to be simple on the surface. But delve deeper, and you'll discover that they're paradoxical in nature, and the wisdom isn't revealed until you've gone beneath the superficial layer.
The Fear Paradox
The more something scares you, the more you should probably do it.
You’re terrified because the desired outcome is meaningful, and you care deeply about it.
"Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain."
— Mark Twain
The Death Paradox
The Romans had a saying: “Memento Mori” - which translates to “Remember you must die”.
By accepting our mortality, we are able to live more freely.
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do, say, and think”
— Marcus Aurelius
The Learning Paradox
The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.
You first start with unconscious incompetence - “I don’t know what I don’t know” and eventually progress into conscious incompetence - “I know what I don’t know”.
A deeper understanding creates more questions than it answers.
The Scarcity Paradox
The less available something is, the more you want it, and the more valuable it is.
Perceived value matters more than intrinsic value.
For most of history, diamonds were not a valuable gem. But when De Beers entered the industry and controlled the supply, the industry turned into USD $100B+.
We want what we can’t have.
The Conviction Paradox
There’s a correlation between how open a person is to different perspectives and how much that person knows about a given subject.
The wisest individuals are those who are open-minded and can logically evaluate new information.
“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russel
The Paradox of Choice
The more options we have, the less satisfied we are with the one we go with.
Research shows that when presented with more options, we’re more likely to have buyer’s remorse.
Increased optionality comes with increased opportunity costs.
The Connectedness Paradox
Adoption of social media is skyrocketing and we’re more connected than ever, yet - we’re lonelier than ever.
Disconnect, unplug, log out. Go analog once in a while.
The Effort Paradox
It takes a huge amount of effort to make something appear effortless.
The best performers make something look effortless. But look behind the scenes, and you’ll see thousands of hours of difficult, repetitive, and strenuous work.
Put in the repetitions.
The Brevity Paradox
Talk less to say more.
In a world full of noise, simplicity is key. Speak and write with clarity, precision, and purpose.
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
— Mark Twain
The Happiness Paradox
The pursuit of happiness makes you unhappy.
Happiness comes from an appreciation for the precent and gratitude for what you have.
The key to finding happiness is to stop looking for it.
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