How to Be Content in Life: Three Paradoxes | Mark Manson
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“Life is essentially an endless series of problems—the solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next. Don’t hope for a life without problems. Hope for a life full of good problems.”
Life is full of paradoxes, and anything and everything that we hope for or desire only leads to more anxiety and stress, creating new problems for us.
We can be content. But it's not simple. To understand why we seem to be constantly dissatisfied with ourselves and the world, we must understand some basic psychological principles.
Our behavior, contentment, desires, expectations, and body clocks are set differently, and this may lead to conflicts and problems with others.
Contentment comes from balance. Conflicting needs are paradoxes, contradictions in our own motivations, making us anxious and angry.
If we are able to balance our expectations and desires and face life's bad phases and challenges with equal ease as the good aspects.
We are not anxious when bad things happen, but during the phase when we are unsure of what will happen. The Unpredictability, and the moment of darkness, when things can go in any direction is when we feel our lack of control.
To be in control of our lives we create routines, organize ourselves around a few known skills, or ideologies.
The Paradox we face is that if we are seeking too much change in life, we feel out of control, and if we pursue too much stability, our lives become dull and boring.
Self-discipline and smart habits take us out of this paradox, so we can pursue stability and change at the same time.
There is an inherent tension in freedom. We are free to do whatever we choose to do, and can create a meaningful life. But the infinite options in front of us may lead to a lack of commitment and the variety of choices may lead to greater anxiety.
The Paradox of Freedom can be resolved by merging the extremes and committing to action that multiplies our choice.
If you are to make a choice, do the right thing, commit to the right choice, and multiply your freedom.
A relationship is always in the doldrums as it is swinging to one of the two extremes: no care, or too much care.
Things go wrong when we:
This can be solved by striking a balance: don't neglect your partner but also don't neglect yourself.
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