The most amazing paradoxes in life

The web is full of paradoxes. We have all heard about “20 paradoxes that changed my life, 10 mind blowing paradoxes that literally blew my mind, 15 spooky paradoxes…”

You get the grip. Well, this is handpicked paradoxes I have found. They are all stolen somewhere (and I will give you links if I can) But overall this is paradoxes that I found …mindblowing;)

Not that they changed my life, but it kind of made me think…if you get what I mean.
Here is my twenty. Enjoy!
 But first: 

What is a Paradox?

 

A seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

 

1. The best things in life are free

 

We’ve all heard this phrase, but it’s somewhat paradoxical. Most of the time, we have to pay for value. The more valuable something is, the higher it costs. But many of the most satisfying things in life can’t be bought. They are freely available to anyone who is wise enough to seek them out.

Take away: Don’t get caught up in chasing material possessions.

2. The more choices we have, the more paralyzed we become

In today’s world, we often think that having everything at our fingertips makes life easier. In some ways it does. However, when faced with a multitude of choices we often become stressed and unable to make a decision. There is a research showing that having fewer options is actually making us happier. If you don’t believe me- here is the proof.

Take away: You will always have time to make another choice. It doesn’t matter what you order for dinner. Next time you have a new opportunity

3. Stop looking for happiness if you want to find it

When you stop searching for happiness, it is suddenly there. This is also called the Paradox of Hedonism. Happiness isn’t a place, but rather a state.

Take away: Let happiness come to you when it’s ready. And google Alan Watts (link) and his view of happiness.

4. The best ideas come when you’re thinking about something else

It is so true. Getting nothing done behind the pc or mac? Take a shower. It is proven beyond anything that having your brain change from doing one task to another will wake your creativity.

Take away: If you’re ever running dry of ideas, take a shower

5. We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone

Be aware what you have. And try to imagine life without. Then you will see what’s important and not.

Take away: Wake up everyday and be happy you do exactly that – waking up. So many doesn’t.

6. The more you multitask, the less you get done

Research has shown that the human ability to multitask is technically nonexistent. Goes for men and, yes, women. We do not have the brain for it. Sorry.

Take away: Do one thing and one thing only and then the next…

7. You get what you give

What comes around…actually this is so good. If you are generous, it will come back to you. Just try!

Take away: Be generous. Give to others and you won’t have to worry about receiving.

8. We can only change when we accept who we are

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” -Carl Rogers. The more you hate a trait in someone else, the more likely you are avoiding it in yourself. Carl Jung believed that characteristics in others that bother us are reflections of the parts of ourselves that we deny. Freud referred to it as “projection.” Most people call it “being an asshole.” For example, the woman who is insecure about her weight will call everyone else fat. The man who’s insecure about his money will criticize others for theirs. Make sure you like and love yourself before you can change. If not, what are you going to change into or fro?

Take away: Accept yourself and change will come naturally.

9. The faster you run from your problems, the quicker they catch up

Going abroad as a soldier, we where told not to run from problems. They would be there when we returned. And often they go with you.  If you run, your “baggage” will be right there with you- at the baggage claim. 

Take away: Fix your problems before you go.

10. If you want to find love, stop looking

A bit like happiness. Stop searching and suddenly she or he is there. The love of your life. Not that I believe in lifelong love, but I believe in not searching for love. Stop it and you will find it.

Take away: Be nice, do not expect anything and love will find you.

11. People who talk the most say the least

Listen more than you speak. You will learn, and probably get it your way in the end.

Take away: Speak to be understood, not to impress or gain attention.

12. If you don’t trust, people don’t trust you

Trust is earned and not a thing you can demand. And often trust cant happen without you trusting people.

Take away: Start trusting.(in people and yourself)

13. Do not impress people, the less they will be impressed

The more you try to impress people, the less impressed they’ll be. Nobody likes a try-hard.

Take away: Be humble and never ever thing you can’t learn anything from others.

14. Make mistakes and you will succeed

The more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed. Insert inspirational famous person quote here. You’ve probably heard many of them. Edison tried over 10,000 prototypes before getting the lightbulb right. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school team. Success comes from improvement and improvement comes from failure. There’s no shortcut around it.

Take away: When you do your thing, don’t even think about making mistakes. It will only slow you down. But when you do make a mistake, put it in your bag of experience and move on.

15. The more afraid you are of death, the less you’ll be able to enjoy life

Or as one of my favorite quotes puts it, “Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Take way: Memento mori. Remember that you shall die one day. And then it doesn’t matter what you do.

16. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know

I personally experience this. I thought I was able to speak Spanish, but then I learned some more and discovered how little Spanish I knew. The old Socrates adage. Every time you gain a greater understanding, it creates even more questions than it answers.

Take away: never stop learning.

17. Availability is making thing less wanted

Goes for feeling, possesses. The more available something is, the less you will want it. Humans have a strong scarcity bias. We unconsciously assume things that are scarce are valuable and things that are abundant are not. This is not the case.

Take away: appreciate that not everything is available up front.

18. Being vulnerable and full of flaws make people think you’re flawless

The more honest you are about your faults; the more people will think you’re perfect. The amazing thing about vulnerability (recommended TED talk) is the more comfortable you are about not being that great, the more people will think you are.

Take away: The paradox of paradox. Being vulnerable and full of flaws makes you the opposite.  

19. Keeping people close the strong way will pushed them away

The more you try to keep someone close, the further away you’ll push them. This is the argument against jealousy in relationships: once actions or feelings become obligations, they lose all meaning. If your girlfriend feels obligated to spend her weekends with you, then the time you spend together has become meaningless.

Take away: You can never force someone to love you. That is not up to you.

20. The only certainty is that nothing is ever certain

This realization was a truth I experience as a soldier in Lebanon. In war one thing is certain. Nothing is certain.

Take away: Expect nothing, prepare for everything.

Conclusion

I am fascinated by the paradoxes of life. And there are many of them. You have probably already heard of 

“if you are looking for happiness you will not find it” Or “if you want to get rich you are guaranteed not to get rich”.

My point is that most people who have what can be called success are people who never went for fame, or money… or happiness for that matter. But they pursued an idea they thought was fun, a passion and then it took off completely.

What I want to conclude with is that if you want and tell others about your passion or hobby or dream, do it. But not to make money or searching for  fame. Do it because you genuinely want to communicate, help others do the same.

And I can almost guarantee you success.
Which in itself is a (new) paradox.
Let me hear back what you think about this.

Sources

  1. The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less is a book written by American psychologist Barry Schwartz. Here is a very good TED talk on the subject.
  2. Mark Manson – His whole site, but “20 Paradoxes that are true” is a nice start.
  3. Business insider
  4. Mental floss
  5. Bryne Brown, the TED talk that “broke the internet”;) (It really did;)  More than 55 million views – The power of vulnerability 

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