February 25


Why the paradox of life hurts you and how to fix it today

By Harry Heijligers

February 25, 2021

Paradox of Life

Every human being who has ever lived or shall live suffers from the paradox of life.

Unfortunately, hardly no one is aware of it.

Let's change that today!


What is the paradox of life?

Human beings are inherently dissatisfied.
We are always striving to reach an imaginary goal…
a goal that is outside of the present moment.

This is the paradox of life.

On the one hand, human beings seek inherent value and meaning in life…
striving to reach the stars. But what exactly is the meaning of life?

On the other hand, are most people incapable of finding any value or meaning…
unsatisfied with life as it is.

And the irony is that this same dissatisfaction is what drives us to reach that goal. How paradoxical!

As children, we want to be older, stronger, more self-sufficient, more able to do what the older people around us can do.

You might believe that the whole of life is a constant process of trying to reach the point where we can say, "I've made it now. It's all downhill from here.

This is because we are continually looking for something that isn't there. And that… is the paradox of life!

There aren't many truths in life, but the paradox of life is undoubtedly one of them. And it is something that affects all of us.

Always has been that way.

Heraclitus was one of the first philosophers to identify the existence of the paradox of life. I'm just saying… the paradox of life has always been there and will always be there.

It's in our human nature!

In the 2011 movie, The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon plays David Norris, a U.S. congressman who unsuccessfully runs for Senate.
He falls in love with Elise Sellas, played by Emily Blunt.


The people of The Adjustment Bureau try to do whatever it takes so that David and Elise will never meet again in their life. Their love is forbidden by their book.


They want David to stay hungry, feeling incomplete, unsatisfied, so that he will keep striving for the country's highest job, the U.S. Presidency.
Because that's how it was meant to be… David is becoming U.S. President.

According to the Adjustment Bureau, David's only way to become the President of the United States would be by keeping David hungry and unsatisfied. Luckily, David and Elise found a way to do both: fall in love, be happy, and still strive for more.

In this movie, David has overcome the paradox of life. And that appears to be a real advantage in life.

Unfortunately, we don't live in movies.

Unfortunately, most people fall for the paradox of life and keep going around in circles.

This is one of the major causes why people suffer from FOMO. It's also due to the paradox of choice: there are so many to choose from that we are afraid that we have chosen the wrong thing as soon as we decide something.

So… how to be happy on the one hand…
while continuously keep striving for better and more on the other hand?
Because, with our life expectancy becoming longer and longer, you are never too old to get a grip on the paradox of life!
Paradox of Life

How to escape the paradox of life?

Start every day anew

If you're feeling burnt out and need something to help, you squeeze more out of each day…
Try starting every day as a new beginning. In other words: Live your life with "day-tight compartments." I got this concept from Dale Carnegie.

Every morning decide to shut off the past.

Feel, hear and see at every level of your life, the iron doors shutting out the past, the dead yesterdays.

Every morning decide to shut out the future.

Feel, hear, and see at, again at every level of your life, a metal curtain shutting off the future, the unborn tomorrows.

Every morning decide that there is only today.
The future is today. There is no tomorrow.
Then you are safe. Safe for today.

Yes, sure! The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to focus all your mental energy and skills on doing today's work well.

There is no other way to prepare for the future.

Disconnect yourself from the concept of time

The concept of time is hugely profoundly ingrained in our being.

We live in a so inherently time-based world; it's hard to think about life without it.
The system of time-based appointments is so deeply rooted in our collective consciousness that most of our interactions with others occur at scheduled times.

We are so programmed to reacting to time and what is happening around us that we are less conscious about our own intrinsic needs and goals.

To disconnect yourself from time and the pressure of the outside world…
and to start listening to your inside world…
so that you will become and more satisfied with yourself and your life…
And know your True North...
Start your day with Renaissance Time. I got this concept from Perry Marshall.

Immediately after you wake up, keep the outside world OUT!

Do not look on your phone or any other device or screen.
Do not take calls or talk to people.
Just be alone with yourself and a pen and paper.
For at least 30 minutes or so.
And start listening!

Be thankful for all that you have

Keep a gratitude journal. Write, preferably once per day, about the things that went well. Small things. Big things. Anything.

Thank yourself for having a wonderful life.

And when things go south, try to look for the positive side. And be grateful for that.

Enjoy the moment

Try to look only at this very second right here and right now in your life.

Look around. See what you see around you. Isn't that something to be happy about?

What if it would suddenly disappear, taken from you? Be lucky; you still have it!

Beating the paradox of life is up to you

You are only one decision away from overcoming the paradox of life. From escape the rat race.

It's the decision to really look for the positive and fabulous things you already have in your life. Do it! Do it now!

You can find value in everything if you want to. You only have to decide that there is value, and you will find it.

If you view life as a complicated mash of experiences, then it will indeed be this way.

From your personal life to each relationship you have, everything will feel cumbersome and messy. And you keep asking, "Why? Why does this happen to me?!"


You decide to approach life as a precious experience. Challenge yourself to find value in the tiniest, smallest things. Challenge yourself to find value in the things that may look bad, but you know you are not if only you see the good in it.

Ronald Reagan's Memorial site in Simi Valley, California, has a beautiful inscription:

"I have faith that man is good,
that right will always succeed,
and that each of our lives has a purpose and value."

To seek the beauty of life is to be mindful of the present moment.
Paradox of Life - Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

"You can't live another life than what you're living right now

You can't lose another life than what you're losing right now."

So… what are you waiting for?




And then…

Please tell me in the comments what exactly it is that makes your life so great!

Cheers, Harry

Harry Heijligers

About the author

Harry Heijligers has more than 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and more than 17 years of experience as an NLP Trainer. He has a Dutch blog about NLP here: HarryHeijligers.com.
If you'd like to know about the Smart Leadership Hut, please check this: Smart Leadership Hut.

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