What life lessons are counter-intuitive or go against common sense or wisdom?
You can be anything you want to be! – This is one of the most trite statements and nearly every adult says it to every child. Mostly, it sets kids up for unrealistic expectations. Because, frankly, most kids just want to be famous. And most will not even be internet-famous. The reality is that you can be anything you want to beonly if you have incredible focus, determination, perseverance, luck, connections,chutzpah, a positive attitude, a giving spirit, luck, people skills, the right connections, clarity in defining success, and dozens of other things (suggestions welcome).
Winning a fight doesn’t end it. Only a negotiated solution can provide a lasting peace. When power or authority are used to dominate another, it creates a grudge.
When your explanation simplifies something to make it understandable,
people are more impressed than if it were “too complicated to explain”,
especially when it is.
Don’t “Try Harder”. Often, the act of “trying harder” forces you to focus on immediate outcomes, rather than the big picture. Sometimes, only “trying softer” will do. This is especially true if you’re trying to win someone over to your way of thinking. Trying harder will most likely drive them further away.
Failure is necessary and even desirable.
It definitely sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re not failing, it means you’re not trying hard enough or setting high enough goals for yourself. Nothing important gets done without making mistakes until it gets done better and—hopefully, eventually—right.
Meetings are terrible venues in which to pitch your ideas. Do the pitching informally, so that you have a chance to improve your ideas, confirm your concerns, strengthen your argument–or find out you’re wrong. Don’t bring your idea to a meeting until you have good reason to believe it’ll survive the discussion that follows.
Thinking about death is not depressing.
At first, it seems as though only depressed people are preoccupied with death or that thinking about the inevitable end is a way to become depressed. This may be so for those who are already depressed, but I maintain that reflecting on mortality is a good way to stay cheerful.
By thinking about death, you are faced with the idea of your life as a whole, and of the legacy you may leave either physically or in your influence on those around you. You remind yourself of your fundamental values, rather than being carried from moment to moment in reactive thinking or pleasure seeking. If you think about your life as a whole, it’s easier to get perspective on issues that seem to loom large, or to move away from destructive patterns.
If you’re wrong, admit it as soon as you realise. It’s a sign of character and intelligence. Let the person who corrected know you’re thankful, and that you’re appreciative of their input.
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