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21 Paradoxes of life



I always thought that logic, reason, and the scientific method was everything.

As far as I was concerned: Logic = truth and the more logical it was the ‘truer’ it was.

…that was until I drank Ayahuasca in the Amazon jungle in 2014.

Since then I’ve come to realize that logic ISN’T everything. It has its limits. It can only go so far. It isn’t the ultimate nor is it the be-all and end-all.

Reality can be logical or illogical, rational or irrational, intuitive or counter-intuitive.

It doesn’t have to be logical. It doesn’t have to make sense.

It can even be Paradoxical.


Oxford dictionary


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

2. A person or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love logic, and whenever I hear someone being illogical or making a logical fallacy I’m like:

Yep, I turn into Judge Judy.

But like I said I’ve come to realize there is much more to life than logic.

In fact, the truth is often illogical, paradoxical, and very strange indeed.

Here are 21 Paradoxes of life to think about…

1. The more you want someone to like you, the less they do

Why is it that the more you want someone to like you – the less they do?

And the more you try to impress someone – the less you do?

It’s because approval seeking is a sign of insecurity and neediness, two qualities that are universally unattractive and off-putting to both Men and Women.

However the more you like and accept yourself and the less you care what others think – the more likely others are to approve of you.

“When you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

2. The more you need help, the harder it is to get

Imagine this scenario: Two people approach you on the street asking you for $100

  • One is Bill Gates (the richest man on earth)
  • The other is homeless

Who would you be more likely to give the $100 to?

Most people would give the money to Bill Gates. (Including me)


Because you know he doesn’t need it. It seems unfair – but it’s just the way it is.

The more you need something – the less people want to give it to you.

Conversely, the less you need help – the easier it is to get.

The easiest time to get a date is when you already have a partner.

The easiest time to get a job is when you already have a job.

The easiest time to get a loan is when you don’t need one.

3. Catch-22

“How am I supposed to gain experience [to be hired for a job] if I’m constantly turned down for not having any?” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Similar to the above, a Catch-22 is an annoying and seemingly unfair situation where you are trapped between contradictory rules.

For example: No one will hire you for a job because you don’t have any experience, but you can’t get any experience, because no one will hire you!

4. The more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed

“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.” – Mark Zuckerberg

If you want to succeed – fail faster.

The faster you fail, the quicker you will learn what works and what doesn’t and what’s effective and what’s not. (But don’t just fail – learn from your mistakes and find out why you’re failing)

Some people are so afraid of failure that they don’t even try. But some of life’s greatest lessons come from failure. Each time you fail you get the opportunity to learn something new which will help you to improve your approach for next time.

So don’t fear failure. Fear wasted opportunities. Fear wasted time. Fear wasted talent. Fear regrets.

5. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know

“We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know.” – Albert Einstein

I never knew how dumb I was until I started getting a little smarter.

I used to think I knew lot. Now I know I know nothing.

I honestly don’t even know what it means to know something.

That’s the thing: The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

Only idiots think they know everything. The stupidest people know it all.

If you think you know a lot, it’s either a sure sign of your ignorance – or you just haven’t thought it through yet. Sure you might know a lot compared to other people, but that doesn’t mean much because most people aren’t really that smart.

Pick ANY subject on earth – and think about how much you really know about it.

You don’t even know 1% about it.

You don’t even know 1% about anything.

No one does.

There are no smart people. There are no ‘experts’.

There are just some people who are slightly less ignorant than the rest of us.

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” ― Socrates

6. What you resist persists

“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle

If you find yourself in a situation you don’t like: Don’t fight it or resist it.

If you want to get out of an argument – stop talking. Don’t try and have the last say.

If you’re having a bad day – accept it. Let it suck. Fighting it isn’t going to change it.

Instead of resisting what you don’t like, accept it, then take action to change it.

Fighting doesn’t change or help anything nor does it free you from the thing you’re resisting, it only entangles you and makes it worse.

7. The search for happiness is the cause of unhappiness  

If you want to be happy – stop trying to be happy.

It’s the search for happiness itself that is the cause of unhappiness, and the more you seek it, the more it eludes you.

You cannot find happiness anyway.

It is not a location to be found – nor can anyone give it to you.

It is not contained in a person, place or thing.

You cannot point to it and say “look there it is I’ve found it!”

Happiness is the natural state and it occurs when you accept ‘what is’.

8. People ask questions but they don’t want the answers 

Why do people ask for advice – if they’re not going to take it?

Why do people ask questions – if they don’t really want the answers?

Why do people say they want the truth – if they can’t handle it?

Answer: Because most people are delusional.

Most people just want to hear:

  • Confirmation of what they already believe
  • Something that makes them feel good
  • The sound of their own voices
  • Validation of their opinions

9. Everyone wants everyone else to change, but they don’t want to change themselves 

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Jesus, Matthew 7:3

Everyone wants everyone else to change – but no one wants to change themselves.

But if you don’t want to change, why should you expect anyone else to change?

Forget about trying to change other people. It can’t be done.

You can’t change:

  • Your parents
  • Your children
  • Your boyfriend
  • Your girlfriend
  • Your husband
  • Your wife
  • Your family
  • Your friends

You can’t change anyone.

If you could’ve – you would’ve. But you can’t – just like they can’t change you.

The only person you can change is YOU.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi

10. Everyone values honesty but no one wants to tell the truth 

“I want to say something to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman. I never told anybody a lie. These allegations are false.” – Bill Clinton

Honesty is the best policy.

For everyone else that is.

This is the attitude most people have. Everyone wants everyone else to be honest, but they’re not honest themselves.

People lie all the time about everything. Whenever they feel like it. Whenever it suits them. People lie to your face. They lie on their resumes. They lie at job interviews. They lie on dates. They lie under oath. They swear to God and lie. Men lie. Women lie. Children lie. Celebrities lie. Presidents lie. Everyone lies.

“We’re just friends” – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

“No sex until marriage” – Britney Spears

“There is no sex tape” – Kim Kardashian 

“I’ve never doped. I’m a natural athlete” – Lance Armstrong

“I don’t do drugs” – Paris Hilton

“I’m faithful” – Tiger Woods

11. Everyone has double standards

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.” – Stephen Covey

Everyone has double standards. We judge other people by their actions and results, but we judge ourselves by our intentions.

When we screw up – there was a valid reason for it!

But if someone else screws up – it’s because they suck!

Not only do we judge others that way, but others judge us that way too.

12. The future keeps getting better but we often fear it  

Have you noticed that the future keeps on getting better but people often tend to fear it?

What if the world ends?

What about climate change?

What about terrorism?

What if…?

I blame the lamestream media. Constantly fear mongering and freaking people out.

Some people are afraid of the future. They want to cling to the past as if it were the ‘good old days’.

But the past wasn’t the ‘good old days’ and neither the past nor the present will be better than the future. Computers, education, medicine, science, technology, sports etc. things are constantly evolving, improving and getting better.

If the past were better than the present it would be better to live in the past. But would you rather live in the year 1817 or 2017? A thousand years ago or today?

Would you like to go back to living in a world without electricity? Or medicine? Or cars? Or airplanes? Or computers? Or the internet? Or smartphones? Or movies? Or TV?

Of course not.

Right now is the greatest time in all of human history to be alive (and it’s only going to get better!)

13. Vulnerability is attractive  

The Japanese say that we have 3 faces:

  1. The face we show the world
  2. The face we show our friends and family
  3. The face we show no one

For me it’s the exact same face. I wear my inside on the outside and I’m the same way in public as I am in private. A stranger who meets me for the first time meets the exact same person my closest friends and family members do.


Because I have nothing to hide. Nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not playing games nor am I trying to be someone I’m not.

Too many people today are fake. They’re afraid to let their guard down and let people see the real them. They’re afraid people won’t like or accept them. They’re afraid of getting hurt or rejected. So they put on a mask and try to act like someone they’re not in order to ‘fit in’.

I say take your mask off. Stop being fake. Stop trying to ‘fit in’. Wear your inside on the outside and let people see the REAL YOU. Find out who likes you for you and discover who your true friends are.

I wasn’t a big Nirvana fan but I love this quote from Kurt Cobain:

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” 

I feel exactly the same way.

I like real people. People I can relate to. People who are vulnerable.

People with fears, insecurities and weaknesses.

People like me.

14. The only constant is change  

“Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.” – Socrates

Most of us resist change but no matter how much we want things to stay the same they won’t.

Nothing lasts forever. Nothing is permanent. Nothing stays the same.

Everything that has been created will be destroyed.

Everything that has a beginning will have an end.

Including the sun, the stars, the moon, the planets and the universe.

Including you.

15. You cannot, not, communicate  

Try as you might: You cannot, not, communicate.

You communicate with your words, tonality, facial expressions, body language, eye contact, haircut, clothing, actions and energy.

Even your silence speaks volumes.

16. Actions speak louder than words 

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want to influence people: Be it. Do it. Live it.

Do it with your actions and achievements.

Do it with your lifestyle and results.

Forget about trying to convince people with clever arguments and unbreakable logic.

People pay far more attention to who you are and what you do than to anything you say – no matter how smart or clever it might be.

It’s not what you say – it’s what you do.

It’s not what you say – it’s what they see.

Live the life and there will be no need to convince anyone of anything.

Who you are > What you do > What you say

17. Our best ideas come when we’re doing something else 

It’s OK to brainstorm ideas, but if it’s just not happening, let it go and go do something else.

You can’t force great ideas to come no matter how hard you try.

My best ideas and insights often come to me when I’m doing something else completely off-topic and unrelated:

  • Eating breakfast/lunch
  • Exercising
  • Going for a walk
  • In the bath or shower
  • Meditating
  • Reading
  • Spending time with friends
  • Watching movies/TV

In other words: RELAXING. Not when I’m tense and trying to force them.

18. We don’t learn from history 

“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

History keeps repeating itself because we don’t learn from history.

We keep on making the same mistakes as our parents and grandparents, and their parents before them.

We act upon emotions – not logic.

We follow the crowd – not our instincts.

We listen to other people – not our intuition.

We say and do things we know we’re going to regret.

19. Not making a decision, is a decision in itself 

You cannot, not, make a decision.

Even deciding not to make a decision is a decision in itself!

Some people hold back from making important decisions because they don’t know what to do.

However, be careful about avoiding important decisions because there are not only consequences to what you do, there are also consequences to what you don’t do.

There are consequences to:

  • The decisions you don’t make
  • The actions you don’t take
  • The lessons you don’t learn
  • Not doing your job
  • Not paying your bills or taxes
  • Not keeping your promises
  • Not doing what you said you would do
  • Not speaking up
  • Not reaching an agreement
  • Not taking advantage of opportunity
  • Ignoring your health
  • Not getting a check-up
  • Not seeing a doctor or a dentist
  • Not looking both ways before you cross the street
  • Turning a blind eye to your problems

20. There is no there, there

Traveling the world has taught me something: There is no there, there.

Wherever you think ‘there’ is – it isn’t.

‘There’ is an illusion. ‘There’ is a fantasy. ‘There’ is a mirage. ‘There’ is a lie.

Everyone seems to think that somewhere else contains happiness, that somewhere else is the ‘place to be’. But it isn’t.

There are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking: if you are not happy ‘here’, you will not be happy ‘there’.

21. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone 

Most people don’t appreciate what they’ve got till it’s gone.

They don’t appreciate their youth till it’s gone.

They don’t appreciate their health till it’s gone.

They don’t appreciate their family till they’re gone.

They don’t appreciate their friends till they’re gone.

So there you go: 21 paradoxes of life. It goes to show that logic isn’t everything.

PS: Here are some famous philosophical paradoxes to think about…

5 Philosophical Paradoxes to think about

  • If everything is possible, then it must be possible for something to be impossible
  • If there is an exception to every rule, then even that rule must have an exception
  • Break/Ignore all the rules. To obey this rule you must obey it.
  • There are NO rules. Is that a rule?
  • The sentence after this is true, the sentence before this is false, the sentence before this is true

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