In this week’s article we continue the countdown of the top 50 harsh facts of life.

This isn’t a ‘feel good’ series, rather it’s about brutal honesty and giving ourselves a reality check.

Think of these truths as like taking the red pill in the Matrix. You might not like what you hear, but it’s better to face facts and to see things the way they really are, because lying to yourself and believing whatever you want to believe won’t help you.

For example: You can believe whatever you like about your bank account, pay check, height, weight, IQ, or skin colour, but it makes absolutely no difference at all to the way that these things actually are.

The truth might be inconvenient, sad, or ugly, but it’s the only thing that can help you. Knowledge is power, and if you know something, you can do something.

Here we go…

20. Everything is overhyped and overrated

One of the things that surprised me the most traveling the world (from August 2013-August 2016), was just how many of the world’s most famous cities and tourist attractions were completely overhyped and overrated.

In fact, it became the subject of my first ever blog article: Don’t believe the hype 

Advertisers, bloggers, celebrities, the media, online review sites, travel agencies etc. everyone is lying to you and overhyping everything these days, in an effort to convince you to buy whatever it is that they’re selling.

Let’s be honest: Most things are average at best, but if you were to believe the hype you would think that every new album, book, movie, TV series, show etc. was going to be an “amazing”, “incredible”, “must see”, “once in a lifetime”, “unforgettable”, “masterpiece” etc.

Which of course, only leads to disappointment and a massive let down when it isn’t.

You can’t trust online reviews on Airbnb, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp etc. either, because these days everyone and everything gets a 5 star review so 5-star reviews no longer mean anything. Seriously they mean nothing. Less than nothing. Apparently average is the new excellent.

On top of that, most businesses seem to have an entitlement mentality and think that they deserve a 5 star rating regardless of how crappy their product or service is, and they often cheat the system by getting their family, friends, and employees to give them fake 5 star reviews, or they pay strangers to give them fake 5 star reviews. (That’s why Amazon now has a sign saying “verified purchase” on their reviews due to the high number of fake reviews.)

My advice: Don’t believe the hype and don’t hype things up yourself, because if you do you’re begging to be disappointed. There are just no advantages or benefits to believing the hype. Believe me, if it’s good, it’ll be good without the hype. But if it’s not good, hyping it up will ruin it.

PS: List of things I think are overhyped and overrated:

  • Brands
  • Drama/Negativity/Violence
  • Famous quotes (I’m guilty of this)
  • Most Actors, Athletes, Celebrities, Rappers and Singers
  • Most Albums/Books/Movies/TV shows/Tourist Attractions (tourist traps)
  • New Years eve (Probably the most overrated thing ever)
  • Starbucks
  • Status
  • University
  • Weed
  • What other people think/the approval of the masses

19. People believe whatever they want to believe

“You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.” – Carl Sagan

When I was younger I often felt angry and frustrated whenever I tried to argue or reason with someone who a) refused to think logically, and b) wouldn’t change their minds (or their behavior), no matter what evidence was presented to them.

I just couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t change their beliefs and opinions, even in the face of airtight logic and irrefutable evidence.

But for some reason, 99% of the people I spoke to (including friends and family) didn’t do that. Instead of changing their beliefs according to the evidence, they often just dismissed or ignored whatever evidence was presented, and continued to believe whatever they wanted to believe, simply because it suited them.

I’m embarrassed to say that it took me over 30 years to realize something:

PEOPLE BELIEVE WHATEVER THEY WANT TO BELIEVE

Regardless of the evidence. Even if it’s illogical, irrational, and stupid.

I really wish someone had pulled me aside and told me the following 10 truths earlier, because it would have stopped me from getting angry and frustrated, and from wasting my time arguing with so many closed minded idiots…

10 THINGS I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME EARLIER IN LIFE 

  1. Most people believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of the evidence, and they don’t care if it’s illogical, irrational, or stupid, or how much evidence there is to the contrary.
  2. Logic and evidence isn’t how most people form beliefs. Convenience and preference is. That’s why logic and evidence is so ineffective and changing most peoples minds, because that’s not the criteria they use to form beliefs or make decisions. Most people believe whatever it is that makes them feel good and helps them to sleep at night. Not what’s logical and true.
  3. Most people are closed minded and will not change their minds no matter what you say, no matter what evidence or information is presented, no matter how logical or reasonable your argument is. That’s why the question is often asked at the beginning of a debate: “Is there any evidence that could cause you to change your mind?” because 99.99% of the time there isn’t. Their minds are already made up.
  4. Most people will not follow the evidence where it leads. Instead of starting with an open mind and following the evidence where it leads in an honest search for truth, most people a) assume the answer before they’ve even asked the question, and b) start with their conclusions already in mind, and then start looking for evidence to support what they already believe (I.e. Googling “Why the Bible is true”)
  5. Most people don’t want all of the evidence and information, they only want the evidence and information that supports their current beliefs and opinions.
  6. Most people will happily turn a blind eye to the facts and ignore what’s going on the second it suits them to do so. They’re not only ignorant, but they’re willfully ignorant. They don’t know, and they don’t want to know.
  7. “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” – Mark Twain (In other words: Most people are brainwashed but they don’t know it, and they refuse to believe it)
  8. Most people will not admit they’re wrong even when they know they are. Instead of admitting they’re wrong when they know they are, most people will stubbornly dig their heels in, and continue to argue that black is white, and wrong is right, in an effort to save face, or they’ll quickly try to change topics, or go silent, anything at all but admitting that they’re wrong.
  9. Most people would rather hear fake compliments and false praise than any kind of honest feedback or valid criticism. Most people only want ‘honest’ opinions if they’re complimentary and make them feel good.
  10. Most people are approval seekers, comfort seekers, pleasure seekers, but they’re NOT truth seekers. Most people could care less about the truth. They don’t know and they don’t want to know. They simply believe whatever they want to believe.

In fact, not only are most people NOT truth seekers, but they often hate and resent those who speak it:

“You can’t say that!”

“I don’t want to hear it!”

“That’s not appropriate!” 

“They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth.” – Plato

If you’re not a truth seeker, this fact probably doesn’t bother you. But if like me, you’re someone who actually thinks that people should base their beliefs in reality and only believe what’s true (instead of bullshit, false advertising, fake news, media lies, political propaganda, religious superstition etc.), than this is a very depressing fact indeed.

My advice: Become a truth seeker and don’t just believe whatever you want to believe because it won’t change anything and it won’t help you.

The only thing that will make a difference to your life is seeing things as they are, and dealing with them as they are.

Also, accept that 99.99% of people are going to believe whatever they want to believe regardless of the evidence, so don’t waste your precious time arguing with anyone about anything, because if you do you’ll only get angry and frustrated as they refuse to listen to reason, waste a lot of time and energy in the process, and nothing at all will change.

You don’t have to like it (I don’t), but accept it because this is the way it is.

“If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?” – Sam Harris

18. Everyone has skeletons in the closet

For the past few weeks we’ve heard one Hollywood scandal after another:

Harvey Weinstein has been accused of raping over 50 women, Kevin Spacey has been accused of groping and exposing himself to young men for decades, Louis CK has been accused of masturbating in front of women, and lots of other celebrities are being accused of sexual harassment too such as Brett Ratner, Dustin Hoffman and Jeremy Piven.

It just goes to show that you never really know who someone is behind the mask.

Think about the list of celebrity scandals you never would have believed true in a million years if the media hadn’t reported it:

Bill Clinton’s sexual infidelity.

Bill Cosby drug raping women.

Charlie Sheen’s HIV diagnosis.

Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna.

Harvey Weinstein raping women.

Kevin Spacey exposing himself to young men and groping them.

Lance Armstrong’s steroid use.

Louis CK masturbating in front of women.

Martha Stewart insider trading.

Mel Gibson racist rants towards black people and Jews.

Michael Jackson’s child molestation charges.

Michael Richard’s (Kramer from Seinfeld) racist rant.

The NSA wiretapping and spying on the entire world.

R Kelly peeing on, and having sex with, underage girls.

Tiger Woods cheating on his wife with porn stars and strippers.

Winona Ryder shoplifting.

And let’s not pretend that everyone else in Hollywood is squeaky clean either. Nope. Definitely not.

My guess is that there are hundreds of other Hollywood scandals just waiting to come out that have been paid hush money, and Hollywood’s no different to anywhere else…

Let’s face it: You never really know who someone is, or what they might be hiding. All you know is what they chose to show and tell you. But everyone has skeletons in the closet. Something they haven’t told you. Something they don’t want you to know. Your family. Your friends. Your boyfriend/girlfriend. Your husband/wife. Me. You. Everyone.

17. Murphy’s Law 

Murphy’s Law is a funny set of adages, that assumes the worst, and unfortunately turns out to be right more often than not.

Murphy’s Law:

  • Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong
  • As soon as you find a product you like they’ll stop making it
  • Everyone is held down by the weakest link
  • Everything always takes longer than it should
  • Every solution breeds new problems
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
  • It’s impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious
  • In order to get a loan, you must first prove you don’t need it
  • Just when you think things cannot get any worse, they will
  • Left to themselves, everything tends to go from bad to worse
  • Nothing is as easy as it looks
  • Opportunities always arise when you’re not ready for them
  • The only clubs you want to join, don’t want you as a member
  • The only people who want to help you, are not those you want help from
  • The other line always moves faster
  • Whatever you’re looking for will probably be in the last place you look
  • Whenever you set out to do something, there is always something else that must be done first

My advice: Murphy’s Laws are funny to read because they’re so often true.

If you’re smart you’ll anticipate Murphy’s Law coming into play in anything important you do and always prepare for the worst, because if the worst case scenario isn’t a problem, than nothing is, and life has nothing to threaten you with.

16. The more you respect someone, the less they will respect you

It doesn’t matter if it’s a celebrity, a friend, a romantic interest, or a stranger, it’s one of the 21 Paradoxes of life that the more you respect someone, the less they will respect you.

It seems unfair but it’s just the way it is.

  • The more you seek approval from someone, the more likely they are to withhold it
  • The more attracted you are to someone, the less attracted they are likely to be to you
  • The more you look up to someone, the more likely they are to look down on you

Why is this?

It’s because approval seeking, hero worshiping, putting someone on a pedestal etc. is seen as a sign of insecurity and neediness, qualities which are universally unattractive to both men and women.

My advice: Treat others the way you would like to be treated but don’t:

  • Hero worship them
  • Look up to them
  • Put them on a pedestal
  • Seek their approval

Unless you want them to look down on you.

15. Nothing good comes easy

Nothing good in life comes easy.

Nope.

Debt, disease, ignorance, problems etc. all of these things come naturally and easily without effort.

But the best jobs, the hottest girl/guy, a million dollars, a successful business etc. all of these things you have to work hard for and fight for, and you have to compete against other people who want them too.

Anyone who has achieved success at the highest level: Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Daniel Day Lewis, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Oprah etc. has had to work incredibly hard and put in thousands of hours to get to where they are, and beat out a ton of competition along the way.

So if it took a lifetime of hard work and effort for the world’s most successful people, why should it be any different for you and me?

Answer: It won’t.

My advice: Don’t expect an easy life and know that nothing good in life comes easy.

In order to succeed you will need to solve more problems, work harder, and deal with more pressure and stress than you would like.

You might need to change careers, re-educate, relocate, knock on 1, 000 doors, face 1, 000 rejections, put in 10, 000+ hours of study and hard work, and be willing to wake up at 5am and work 12-16 hour days 7 days a week for 10+ years before you ‘make it’. But if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. Just be willing to pay the price.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee

14. Nice guys finish last

Like it or not: Nice guys finish last.

Why?

Because Women aren’t attracted to nice guys. That’s why they friendzone them.

Women are attracted to:

  • Alpha males, not nerds
  • Bad boys, not good boys
  • Confidence, not insecurity
  • Leaders, not followers
  • Players, not virgins

Women like guys who challenge and tease them, and make them laugh, who are assertive, confident, fun, funny, interesting, powerful, rich, sexy, tall, and unpredictable.

Not guys who compliment them and kiss their asses, and tell them how beautiful they are.

The reason women aren’t attracted to nice guys, is because they’re perceived (rightly or wrongly), as possessing too many qualities that women find unattractive and off-putting:

  • Boring and predictable
  • Clingy and desperate
  • Insecure and needy
  • Eager to please
  • Low status
  • Passive
  • Submissive
  • Too available
  • Weak
  • Wimpy

In short: Women want excitement, fun, and a challenge, but nice guys don’t provide it.

As a nice guy, you might think this isn’t fair. Too bad. Life isn’t fair.

Women can’t control who they’re attracted to, anymore than you can control who you’re attracted to, because attraction is NOT a choice.

You’re either attracted to someone or you’re not, and you can’t help who or what you’re attracted to, or what turns you on. If your a butt guy, you’re a butt guy. If you’re a boob guy, you’re a boob guy. Whatever. The point is that attraction is not a choice. It’s something you have no control over.

My advice: If you’re a nice guy struggling to attract women, instead of getting angry or depressed or complaining, I advise you to learn some game and the basics of how to attract women. There is plenty of good content on YouTube. Because complaining isn’t going to change anything, education and learning is.

In addition I recommend:

  • Paying attention to female sex symbols such as Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling etc. and other men who are incredibly popular with women, until you start to get a feel as to what kinds of qualities are attractive to women and turn them on (Charisma, Confidence, Humor, Unpredictability etc.)
  • Dress your best. When you look good you feel good, and when you feel good, you feel confident. Confidence is always attractive.
  • Get educated. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Watch videos. Learn about female sexual fantasies. Find out what turns Women on.
  • Make female friends and learn from them. Don’t just listen to what they say however, watch what they do. This is important because what women say they’re attracted to, and what they actually respond to, are often two very different things.

I’ll be writing more about this in-depth in future articles.

13. Bitches and bullies thrive

Like it or not: Bitches and bullies, psychopaths and sociopaths, thrive in School, Business, Hollywood, Music, Politics, Sports – pretty much everywhere.

The reason for this, as I said in 33 ways people try to manipulate you, is because whereas most people are afraid of conflict and will do anything to avoid it, bitches and bullies love conflict, and won’t back down from anyone.

…And that turns out to be a major advantage in the competitive world we live in.

Life is often a competition for resources, and when the average person is confronted by a bitch or a bully who is competing for the exact same resource they are (business, clients, customers, jobs, money, staff, talent, women etc.), most of the time they’ll back down or make way for them in order to avoid conflict, giving the bitch/bully instant victory without the need to even lift a finger.

My advice: You don’t have to like bitches and bullies (I don’t), but you should definitely learn from them because there are many reasons they often win and get what they want.

Bitches and bullies often win simply because they have habits that are conducive to success: They’re aggressive, confident, focused, they go for what they want, they play to win, they don’t back down from adversity, they’re persistent, they’ll do whatever it takes, and they’re willing to fight to the bitter end.

If you can emulate these qualities yourself without the psychopathic/sociopathic qualities that often go along with being a bitch/bully (anger, hostility, intimidation, mind games, negative energy, threats of violence etc.), you’ll be more successful too.

12. Most people are part of the problem

When I was a child my mother had a sign in our house that read:

Are you part of the problem, or are you part of the solution?”

As a kid I didn’t know what that meant, but I do now.

And unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that most people are a part of the problem – not the solution:

  • Instead of leading by example, they follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing (no matter how dumb it is)
  • Instead of thinking for themselves, they believe whatever they’re told
  • They want everyone else to change, but they don’t want to change themselves
  • They want everyone else to be honest and truthful, but they lie and deceive
  • They want everyone else to take responsibility for their actions, but they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions
  • They’re closed minded and ignorant, and quick to dismiss any evidence or information that challenges their opinions or worldview
  • They’re hypocrites, who are quick to criticize and complain, but are slow to compliment, give and help
  • They’re undependable, unreliable, and untrustworthy, and won’t hesitate to break a commitment or a promise the second it suits them
  • They promise the world, and deliver nothing
  • They don’t speak to others the way they would like to be spoken to, and they don’t treat others the way they would like to be treated

Yep, if you want to know why the world is the way it is take a look around you.

Crime, hate, murder, poverty, rape, violence, racism, sexism, terrorism etc. the problems we face in the world today aren’t for no reason, they aren’t ‘destined’ or ‘meant’ to happen, and it isn’t the devil that’s doing it.

Most of the problems we face in the world are man made, and they occur only because of the actions and/or indifference of regular people like you and me.

My advice: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

11. Most religious people are brainwashed, delusional, hypocritical, and stupid

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve traveled the world from India to Jerusalem, visited many Ashrams, Churches, and Mosques, and spoken with thousands of Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and other religious people, and I can confidently say:

Most religious people are brainwashed, delusional, hypocritical, and stupid.

Harsh words I know. Not many people will like me saying that, but it’s a fact.

I’m not an atheist, nor am I anti-religious by the way.

In fact, I find religion and spirituality incredibly interesting, and all of my favorite books (I am that, Be as you are, Spiritual Warfare, the Power of Now) and teachers (Adyashanti, Gangaji, Jed Mckenna, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Mooji, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, Sadhguru) are spiritual too.

I also meditate, pray, listen to spiritual teachings, read spiritual books, watch and go to satsangs, consider spiritual enlightenment the ultimate achievement of any human being, and have had many spiritual and out of body experiences myself.

But this doesn’t make what I’ve said any less true.

Let me explain what I mean…

Most religious people don’t believe what they believe because they’ve spent years carefully examining all the evidence, listened to all of the counter arguments and alternate worldviews from atheists and scientists, and as a result of deep critical thinking and of being an open minded truth seeker.

Nope. Most religious people simply believe whatever they were raised to believe. If they were raised a Christian, they believe Christianity. If they were raised a Hindu, they believe Hinduism. If they were raised a Muslim, they believe Islam.

When they were young their parents told them “this book (insert Holy book) is the word of God and contains God’s message to mankind”, and they simply believed it no questions asked, without the slightest evidence or proof, because they hadn’t yet developed the necessary critical thinking skills with which to be able to sort fact from fiction, and reality from fantasy, in order to determine if it was really true.

I don’t blame them. I did too. See when you’re young and you don’t know anything, and your parents tell you that a certain Holy book or religion has the answers to all of life’s biggest questions, and believing means eternal life in Heaven with God, and not believing means eternity burning in hell, and everyone you know who believes it, you’ll probably believe it too.

Why wouldn’t you?

I mean think about it:

Why would your parents lie to you?

Why would BILLIONS of people believe in and pray to a God that didn’t exist?

Why would BILLIONS of people believe (insert Holy book or religion) was true if it wasn’t?

The problem is that as most religious people get older, they don’t take the time to seriously examine their beliefs in the face of the evidence, nor do they listen to counter arguments from the other side (atheists, philosophers, scientists etc.) with an open mind as to why their beliefs might be false.

Instead, they simply live their entire lives upon the assumption that everything their Holy book and religion teaches is true, and if they do look for evidence, it’s only evidence to backup and support their beliefs (I.e. Googling reasons as to why the Bible is the word of God), not to challenge them.

I could write a thousand pages on the delusional beliefs and teachings of the world’s religions, but let’s just say that not only do religious people lots of ridiculous things that aren’t true (which is obvious to everyone else not brainwashed by that religion), but they deny reality and refuse to believe what is true, even in the face of insurmountable scientific evidence.

Also as we’re seeing on a daily basis, religious beliefs taken to their extreme can be extremely dangerous, not just for those involved (cult members who drink poison and commit suicide, or force their children to have sex with other people in the cult), but for everyone else too…

Muslim extremists in Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, and many other terrorist organisations, think they’re doing the will of God when they murder, rape, and torture people, and burn them alive in cages, cut their heads off, hijack airplanes and fly them into skyscrapers, run them over with cars and trucks, shoot them with semi-automatic weapons, throw them off the tops of buildings, maim and torture them, rape women and children, all in the name of “Allah”, to prove that “God is great”.

Most religious people are hypocrites. 99.99% of so called Christians are nothing like Christ and don’t follow in the footsteps of Jesus whatsoever. Most don’t read the Bible or practice anything in it. I won’t say too much more about Christianity here because I’ve already done so in my article the insanity of Christianity.

But the same goes for every other religion. It’s not just Christianity. The holy books say one thing, the followers do another. It would be great if we lived in a world where most of the 84% of people in the world (6.3 Billion people) who called themselves Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims etc. practiced what they preach but we don’t. Instead, most religious people do whatever they want to do, and then they pray to God and ask for forgiveness later.

Most religious people are stupid. They don’t think for themselves, they don’t question what they’re taught, they don’t listen to counter arguments from the other side (atheists, philosophers, scientists etc.), instead they simply believe whatever their Holy book, religion or teacher tells them, even if it contradicts the evidence, logic, reason, science, and their own experience.

To be clear I’m NOT attacking the principles and teachings upon which each religion is based, and if you call yourself a Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim etc. this is NOT an attack on you personally, it’s simply a harsh fact of life: Most religious people are brainwashed, delusional, hypocritical, and stupid.

Look around you at the people in your Ashram, Church, Mosque, Synagogue… isn’t this 100% true?

I like a lot of religious teachings (the golden rule etc.) but what I don’t like is how closed minded most religious people are, how insanely confident they are in their beliefs (without evidence), and of things they have not seen or experienced (heaven, hell, angels, demons, miracles etc.), and how utterly impossible they are to reason with.

My advice: If you’re religious, I’m not going to try to talk you out of your religious beliefs because it won’t work (everyone believes whatever they want to believe regardless of the evidence), but I do encourage you to start learning 3 things that have dramatically improved my intelligence and thinking skills, opened my eyes and my mind, that I really wish I’d learnt earlier in life because the benefits have been endless: Critical thinking, cognitive biases, and logical fallacies.

PS: If you’re not religious, please don’t waste your time trying to use logic and reason to talk someone out of their religions beliefs (as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris try to do), because if the average person is stubborn and will not change their beliefs no matter what evidence is presented, than the average religious person is 1000X worse.

“We don’t need more Hindus, more Christians, or more Muslims – we need more Buddhas, more Jesuses, and more Krishnas – then there will be true change.” – Sadhguru

Recap

I know this was a ton of information so let’s quickly recap this week’s harsh facts:

20. Everything is overhyped and overrated

19. People believe whatever they want to believe

18. Everyone has skeletons in the closet

17. Murphy’s Law

16. The more you respect someone, the less they will respect you

15. Nothing good comes easy

14. Nice guys finish last

13. Bitches and bullies thrive

12. Most people are part of the problem

11. Most religious people are brainwashed, delusional, hypocritical, and stupid

Summary

This is part 4 of a 5 part series: “50 Harsh facts of life”

If you would like to read the other parts in this series here they are:

Part 1: Harsh Facts of Life – Part 1

Part 2: Harsh Facts of Life – Part 2

Part 3: Harsh Facts of Life – Part 3 

Part 5: Harsh Facts of Life – Part 5

Or if you would like to read my other articles: Life Lessons All Articles

If you liked this article (and I hope you did) please subscribe to my mailing list below and I’ll email you my latest articles whenever they’re released. NO SPAM EVER.

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  • 9 Bad Habits to Break (11 page ebook)
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See you next week!

Footnotes:

Al Pacino image credit: Matteo Chinellato / Shutterstock.com
Kevin Spacey image credit: DFree / Shutterstock.com
Leonardo DiCaprio Academy Awards image credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Man wearing Leprechaun hat image credit: Peter O'Toole / Shutterstock.com
Nicki Minaj image credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Riot protesters image credit: bibiphoto / Shutterstock.com
Religious protester image credit: Keitma / Shutterstock.com
Times square advertising image credit: T photography / Shutterstock.com