20 Paradoxes

Below are 20 paradoxes I’ve come across which are, paradoxically, still true:

By Mark Manson

1. 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 which 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.

2. People who can’t trust, can’t be trusted. People who chronically insecure in their relationships are more likely to sabotage them. Call it the Good Will Hunting syndrome, but one way people protect themselves from getting hurt is by hurting others first.

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

4. 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.

5. The more something scares you, the more you should probably do it. With the exception of genuinely life-threatening or physically harmful activities, our fight-or-flight response kicks in when we’re confronted with past traumas or actualizing the self we dream of being. For instance: speaking to an attractive woman, cold-calling someone to get a new job, public speaking, starting a business, saying something controversial, being painfully honest with somebody, etc., etc. These are all things that make you scared, and they make you scared because they are something which should be done.

6. 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.”

7. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. The old Socrates adage. Every time you gain a greater understanding, it creates even more questions than it solves…Continue…

Mark Manson

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