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Paradoxes of Life

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

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Today at a Glance:

  • A paradox is defined as a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
  • Life is full of paradoxes. Once you become aware of them, you will find yourself empowered to use them to your advantage.

Paradoxes of Life

Visuals Credit: @drex_jpg

Paradox: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

From a young age, we are pressured to view the world as linear and logical—when in reality it is anything but. Many of life’s most important truths appear contradictory or convoluted on the surface.

Look around long enough and you’ll realize the ultimate truth:

Life is full of paradoxes.

They are everywhere around you. They have the potential to confuse…or empower.

Once you become aware of these paradoxes—once you truly internalize them—you will find yourself empowered to use them to your advantage.

To get you started on this journey, here are 20+ powerful paradoxes of life…

The Persuasion Paradox

Have you noticed that the most argumentative people rarely persuade anyone of…well…anything?

The most persuasive people don’t argue—they observe, listen, and ask questions.

Argue less, persuade more.

Persuasion is an art that requires a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer.

The Effort Paradox

Sprezzatura is an Italian word meaning “studied carelessness”—it encapsulates the effortful art of appearing effortless.

You have to put in more effort to make something appear effortless.

Effortless, elegant performances are often the result of a large volume of effortful, gritty practice.

Watch videos of Roger Federer playing tennis in his prime. There is a certain nonchalance to his actions on the court, but this nonchalance was the earned result of endless hours of studied, careful, meticulous practice.

Small things become big things. Simple is not simple.

The Wisdom Paradox

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.” — Albert Einstein

The more you learn, the more you are exposed to the immense unknown.

This should be empowering, not frightening. Embrace your own ignorance. Embrace lifelong learning.

The Productivity Paradox

Parkinson's Law says that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Work longer, get less done.

When you establish fixed hours to your work, you find unproductive ways to fill it.

Modern work culture is a remnant of the Industrial Age. It encourages long periods of steady, monotonous work unsuited for the Information Age.

To do truly great, creative work, you have to be a lion. Sprint when inspired. Rest. Repeat.

The Money Paradox

You have to lose money in order to make money.

Every successful investor & builder has stories of the invaluable lessons learned from a terrible loss in their career. Sometimes you have to pay to learn.

Put skin in the game. Scared money don't make money!

The Growth Paradox

Growth takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you ever would have thought.

Growth happens gradually, then suddenly.

When you realize this, you start to do things differently—apply effort appropriately, stay the course, and let compounding work its magic.

The Failure Paradox

You have to fail more to succeed more.

Our greatest moments of growth often stem directly from our greatest failures.

Don’t fear failure, just learn to fail smart and fast.

After all, getting punched in the face—a few times, but not too many—builds a strong jaw.

The Say No Paradox

Take on less, accomplish more.

Success doesn’t come from taking on everything that comes your way. It comes from focus—deep focus on the tasks that really matter.

Say yes to what matters, say no to what doesn’t. Protect your time as a gift to be cherished.

The Speed Paradox

You have to slow down to speed up.

Slowing down gives you the time to be deliberate with your actions. You can focus, gather energy, and deploy your resources more efficiently.

It allows you to focus on leverage and ROI, not effort.

Move slow to move fast.

The Death Paradox

You must know your death in order to truly live your life.

Memento Mori is a Stoic reminder of the certainty and inescapability of death. It is not intended to be morbid; rather, to clarify, illuminate, and inspire.

Death is inevitable. Live while you're alive.

The Fear Paradox

The thing we fear the most is often the thing we need the most.

Fears—when avoided—become limiters on our growth and life.

Make a habit of getting closer to your fears.

Then take the leap (metaphorically!)—you may just find growth on the other side.

The News Paradox

The more news you consume, the less well-informed you are.

Taleb calls it the noise bottleneck: As you consume more data, the noise to signal ratio increases, so you end up knowing less about what is actually going on.

Want to know more about the world? Turn off the news.

The Icarus Paradox

It is a classic tale of Greek mythology.

Icarus crafted wings out of feathers and beeswax to escape an island. He began to fly—the wings working wonders. But he quickly became blinded by his own engineering prowess and flew too close to the sun, which caused the beeswax to melt and sent him plummeting to his death.

What makes you successful can lead to your downfall.

An incumbent achieves success with one thing, but overconfidence blinds them to coming disruption. Beware!

The Shrinking Paradox

In order to grow, sometimes you need to shrink.

Growth is never linear. Shedding deadweight may feel like a step back, but it is a necessity for long-term growth.

One step back, two steps forward is a recipe for consistent, long-term success.

The Looking Paradox

You may have to stop looking in order to find what you are looking for.

Have you noticed that when you are looking for something, you rarely find it?

Stop looking—what you’re looking for may just find you.

Applies to love, business, investing, or life...

The Hamlet Paradox

"I must be cruel only to be kind." — Hamlet

In Hamlet, the protagonist is forced to take a seemingly cruel action in order to prevent a much larger harm.

Life is so complex. The long-term righteous course may be the one that appears short-term anything but.

The Tony Robbins Paradox

In investing, the willingness to admit you have no competitive advantage can be the ultimate competitive advantage.

Strong self-awareness breeds high-quality decision-making. Foolish self-confidence breeds nothing of use.

Be self-aware—act accordingly.

The Talking Paradox

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetus

If you want your words and ideas to be heard, start by talking less and listening more. You’ll find more power in your words.

Talk less to be heard more.

The Connectedness Paradox

More connectedness, less connected.

We're constantly connected—bombarded by notifications and dopamine hits. But while we have more connectedness, we feel less connected.

Put down the phone. Look someone in the eye. Have a conversation. Breathe.

The Taleb Surgeon Paradox

Looking the part is sometimes the worst indicator of competency.

The one who doesn’t look the part has had to overcome much more to achieve its status than the one from central casting.

If forced to choose, choose the one that doesn’t look the part.

The Constant Change Paradox

“When you are finished changing, you are finished.” — Benjamin Franklin

The only constant in life is change. Entropy is reality. It’s the one thing you can always count on—the only constant.

Embrace it—be dynamic, be adaptable.

The Control Paradox

More controlling, less control.

We have all seen or experienced this as children, partners, or parents. The most controlling often end up with the least control.

Humans are wired for independence—any attempts to counter this will be met with resistance.

Life is full of paradoxes.

They are everywhere around you. Don’t let them cloud your path.

Internalize them—use them to your advantage.

I hope this post helps you do just that…

Paradoxes of Life

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

Today at a Glance:

  • A paradox is defined as a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
  • Life is full of paradoxes. Once you become aware of them, you will find yourself empowered to use them to your advantage.

Paradoxes of Life

Visuals Credit: @drex_jpg

Paradox: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

From a young age, we are pressured to view the world as linear and logical—when in reality it is anything but. Many of life’s most important truths appear contradictory or convoluted on the surface.

Look around long enough and you’ll realize the ultimate truth:

Life is full of paradoxes.

They are everywhere around you. They have the potential to confuse…or empower.

Once you become aware of these paradoxes—once you truly internalize them—you will find yourself empowered to use them to your advantage.

To get you started on this journey, here are 20+ powerful paradoxes of life…

The Persuasion Paradox

Have you noticed that the most argumentative people rarely persuade anyone of…well…anything?

The most persuasive people don’t argue—they observe, listen, and ask questions.

Argue less, persuade more.

Persuasion is an art that requires a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer.

The Effort Paradox

Sprezzatura is an Italian word meaning “studied carelessness”—it encapsulates the effortful art of appearing effortless.

You have to put in more effort to make something appear effortless.

Effortless, elegant performances are often the result of a large volume of effortful, gritty practice.

Watch videos of Roger Federer playing tennis in his prime. There is a certain nonchalance to his actions on the court, but this nonchalance was the earned result of endless hours of studied, careful, meticulous practice.

Small things become big things. Simple is not simple.

The Wisdom Paradox

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.” — Albert Einstein

The more you learn, the more you are exposed to the immense unknown.

This should be empowering, not frightening. Embrace your own ignorance. Embrace lifelong learning.

The Productivity Paradox

Parkinson's Law says that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Work longer, get less done.

When you establish fixed hours to your work, you find unproductive ways to fill it.

Modern work culture is a remnant of the Industrial Age. It encourages long periods of steady, monotonous work unsuited for the Information Age.

To do truly great, creative work, you have to be a lion. Sprint when inspired. Rest. Repeat.

The Money Paradox

You have to lose money in order to make money.

Every successful investor & builder has stories of the invaluable lessons learned from a terrible loss in their career. Sometimes you have to pay to learn.

Put skin in the game. Scared money don't make money!

The Growth Paradox

Growth takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you ever would have thought.

Growth happens gradually, then suddenly.

When you realize this, you start to do things differently—apply effort appropriately, stay the course, and let compounding work its magic.

The Failure Paradox

You have to fail more to succeed more.

Our greatest moments of growth often stem directly from our greatest failures.

Don’t fear failure, just learn to fail smart and fast.

After all, getting punched in the face—a few times, but not too many—builds a strong jaw.

The Say No Paradox

Take on less, accomplish more.

Success doesn’t come from taking on everything that comes your way. It comes from focus—deep focus on the tasks that really matter.

Say yes to what matters, say no to what doesn’t. Protect your time as a gift to be cherished.

The Speed Paradox

You have to slow down to speed up.

Slowing down gives you the time to be deliberate with your actions. You can focus, gather energy, and deploy your resources more efficiently.

It allows you to focus on leverage and ROI, not effort.

Move slow to move fast.

The Death Paradox

You must know your death in order to truly live your life.

Memento Mori is a Stoic reminder of the certainty and inescapability of death. It is not intended to be morbid; rather, to clarify, illuminate, and inspire.

Death is inevitable. Live while you're alive.

The Fear Paradox

The thing we fear the most is often the thing we need the most.

Fears—when avoided—become limiters on our growth and life.

Make a habit of getting closer to your fears.

Then take the leap (metaphorically!)—you may just find growth on the other side.

The News Paradox

The more news you consume, the less well-informed you are.

Taleb calls it the noise bottleneck: As you consume more data, the noise to signal ratio increases, so you end up knowing less about what is actually going on.

Want to know more about the world? Turn off the news.

The Icarus Paradox

It is a classic tale of Greek mythology.

Icarus crafted wings out of feathers and beeswax to escape an island. He began to fly—the wings working wonders. But he quickly became blinded by his own engineering prowess and flew too close to the sun, which caused the beeswax to melt and sent him plummeting to his death.

What makes you successful can lead to your downfall.

An incumbent achieves success with one thing, but overconfidence blinds them to coming disruption. Beware!

The Shrinking Paradox

In order to grow, sometimes you need to shrink.

Growth is never linear. Shedding deadweight may feel like a step back, but it is a necessity for long-term growth.

One step back, two steps forward is a recipe for consistent, long-term success.

The Looking Paradox

You may have to stop looking in order to find what you are looking for.

Have you noticed that when you are looking for something, you rarely find it?

Stop looking—what you’re looking for may just find you.

Applies to love, business, investing, or life...

The Hamlet Paradox

"I must be cruel only to be kind." — Hamlet

In Hamlet, the protagonist is forced to take a seemingly cruel action in order to prevent a much larger harm.

Life is so complex. The long-term righteous course may be the one that appears short-term anything but.

The Tony Robbins Paradox

In investing, the willingness to admit you have no competitive advantage can be the ultimate competitive advantage.

Strong self-awareness breeds high-quality decision-making. Foolish self-confidence breeds nothing of use.

Be self-aware—act accordingly.

The Talking Paradox

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetus

If you want your words and ideas to be heard, start by talking less and listening more. You’ll find more power in your words.

Talk less to be heard more.

The Connectedness Paradox

More connectedness, less connected.

We're constantly connected—bombarded by notifications and dopamine hits. But while we have more connectedness, we feel less connected.

Put down the phone. Look someone in the eye. Have a conversation. Breathe.

The Taleb Surgeon Paradox

Looking the part is sometimes the worst indicator of competency.

The one who doesn’t look the part has had to overcome much more to achieve its status than the one from central casting.

If forced to choose, choose the one that doesn’t look the part.

The Constant Change Paradox

“When you are finished changing, you are finished.” — Benjamin Franklin

The only constant in life is change. Entropy is reality. It’s the one thing you can always count on—the only constant.

Embrace it—be dynamic, be adaptable.

The Control Paradox

More controlling, less control.

We have all seen or experienced this as children, partners, or parents. The most controlling often end up with the least control.

Humans are wired for independence—any attempts to counter this will be met with resistance.

Life is full of paradoxes.

They are everywhere around you. Don’t let them cloud your path.

Internalize them—use them to your advantage.

I hope this post helps you do just that…