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How to Be Content in Life: Three Paradoxes | Mark Manson

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How to Be Content in Life: Three Paradoxes | Mark Manson
In life, you often find yourself in no-win situations. You tell yourself that you need to be more social. But then you go out to events and spend the whole time wishing you could be at home. You celebrate the glory of Thanksgiving by eating thirteen slices of pizza...

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Mark Manson

“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....

Mark Manson

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Life as a Paradox

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....

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Psychological Thermostats

Our behavior, contentment, desires, expectations, and body clocks are set differently, and this may lead to conflicts and problems with others.

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Contentment and Balance

Contentment comes from balance. Conflicting needs are paradoxes, contradictions in our own motivations, making us anxious and angry.
If we are able to balance o...

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The Unknown and the Unpredictable

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...

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Stability or Change

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...

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The Paradox of Freedom

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...

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Merge the Extremes

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 choic...

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The Paradox of Relationships

The Paradox of Relationships

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:

  • Keep ourselves as the c...

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Our inner 'demons'

Our inner Demons, or inner voices, make us do irrational, stupid and selfish things, based out of fear.

We hide and distract ourselves from our inner voice, which is nothing but our fear and ...

Our common negative parts

Some of our common 'demons' are:

  • Procrastination
  • Laziness
  • Self-loathing
  • Comparing yourself with your peers, leading to envy
  • Loser mentality.

The downward spiral

Our inner demons lead us to negatively judge ourselves, further leading to avoiding that judgment, and eventually starting the internal self-destruction, if the negative downward spiral is left unchecked.

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Sabotaging yourself

Sabotaging yourself and your relationships create unnecessary pain and self-generated stress.

To stop sabotaging yourself, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way....

Know your typical thinking patterns

Our personality and life experiences predispose us to dominant modes of thinking, but these can be biased in ways that are unhelpful in the majority of situations.

Maybe you tend to worry people are angry at you when usually this isn’t the case. Or you tend to hesitate too much in making decisions.

When you thoroughly understand your personal thinking errors, you’ll be able to correct these, and this will become easier and almost automatic with practice.            

Prioritize one-time behaviors that reduce stress

Streamline your workflow so you can get simple things done without significant willpower.

For example, instead of having a container for pens and scissors in only one room of the house, have these in three different rooms to ensure better tidying.

Strategies like these save time and, more importantly, help free you up mentally.

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Personal success

Personal success is not a matter of background, intelligence, or native ability.

The keys to success in life are our ability to draw out the very best out of ourselves under almost all condit...

The Four Keys to Success

The great keys to success and to change your life have always been the same:

  1. Decide exactly what you want and where you want to go.
  2. Set a deadline and make a plan to get there.
  3. Take daily action on your plan.
  4. Resolve in advance that you will persevere until you succeed.

Learn From The Experts

You will not live long enough to figure it all out for yourself. 

You can learn from others who have gone before. Acquire as many of them as possible. Then use them to help you do the things you want to do. Learn from their mistakes and benefit from their systems.

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