The 7 Most Powerful Paradoxes of Life

Things aren't always as they seem.

A paradox is a statement, idea, or thing that seems logically correct but in reality, is contrary to one's expectation. Take the image below for example. At first glance, it seems that the arrows are telling us to go to the right. But if you look a little longer, the small arrows actually come together to form a larger arrow that points left.

Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

Paradoxes affect many important areas of life include health, wealth, career, happiness, relationships, and success. By learning about the most powerful paradoxes of life, you will gain a more accurate understanding of the world.

(1) The Effort Paradox

Putting in more effort isn't always going to get you better results.

A CEO who earns $40 million dollars in one year might work 40 hours per week. But there are loads of other people working 40 hours and definitely not earning anywhere near $40 million dollars: teachers, janitors, accountants, software developers, doctors, and lawyers. Even if the CEO is working 80 hours per week, they're still making far more than double what most other people make.

A much better strategy is to look for ways to gain leverage. Identify areas where you get the most results for the least effort. Focus your energy there so you can work fewer hours while getting more results.

(2) The Wisdom Paradox

Wisdom is not finite. There is no maximum amount of wisdom you can gain and there is no final destination.

The more you learn, the more you will realize that there's so much more to learn. You become exposed to new ideas, topics, and even totally new areas of knowledge that you didn't know existed. Your knowledge grows, but so does your awareness of things that you don't know.

Learning is eternal. You can find joy in this knowing that you'll always have new knowledge to gain and new experiences to have. If you keep an open mind to always learning, you'll have a competitive advantage over those who think they know it all.

(3) The Success Paradox

Success is not linear or straightforward. It does not come gradually or in any kind of regular fashion.

Success is most often sporadic. Sometimes you'll work incredibly hard but won't see any tangible results. Other times, you'll hardly do anything and end up getting great results. It's not uncommon for progress to be frozen for a long time and then suddenly come all at once.

Don't fret if you don't see success right away. If you're working hard and smart, it's only a matter of time before your rewards come. Success might not have a schedule, but you only need to be right one time for it to all be worth it.

(4) The Speed Paradox

Speed isn't always a good thing. Going fast might get you to your destination in less time, but if you don't have the right direction then you'll end up in the wrong place anyway.

Slowing down gives you time to recalibrate. You rest, re-gain your energy, focus, and determine where your efforts are worth applying and will be most effective. You can then work with the confidence that your efforts are pushing you towards your goals rather than away from them.

Ultimately, slowing down allows you to get a higher ROI for your efforts. The motto is: go slow to go fast.

(5) The Failure Paradox

Failure isn't a negative thing as most people make it out to be. In fact, the more failure you have in your life, the better.

Failure is the best learning opportunity that life has to offer. Each time you fail, you gain more information about the wrong ways to accomplish your goal. This narrows down your search for the right way that will bring you success. You could say that Thomas Edison "failed" 10,000 times at making a lightbulb. But really, each of those failures was a clue that narrowed down his search for the ultimate solution.

Failure is an experience that lends itself to wisdom. The motto is: fail more to succeed more.

(6) The Confidence Paradox

Confidence is not an indicator of competence. It's more often true that the more confident people are less competent, and the less confident people are more competent.

When someone knows very little, they tend to be very confident in their abilities because they have no idea how much they're missing. This can lead to dangerous arrogance where you fail hard at something that you expect to do well in. But when you stay humble about your competance, your mind is kept open to learning. Thus you will constantly improve, always getting better and staying ahead of the competition.  

There's always room for growth no matter how knowledgeable or skilled your are. Keep an open mind and stay hungry for learning to you give yourself the best chance to succeed.

(7) The Searching Paradox

Searching harder for something won't always help you find it. It puts you in a tunnel vision where you miss the forest for the trees.

To find what you're searching for whether it be love, happiness, or success, the best thing you can do is to just stop searching. When you stop actively searching, your subconscious mind takes over. Through thousands of years of evolution, it's been trained to hone in on what's best for you. When you let it do the work, it'll lead you to the right place without you having to stress about it.

Let go of your search and allow your intuition to guide you. It always knows where you need to go.

In Summary

These are the 7 paradoxes we learned today:

  1. The Effort Paradox
  2. The Wisdom Paradox
  3. The Success Paradox
  4. The Speed Paradox
  5. The Failure Paradox
  6. The Confidence Paradox
  7. The Searching Paradox

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