We can't always see what we're doing well (and not so well) when we look at life from our own perspectives.
For an accurate assessment, we have to look from outside ourselves. This is why hearing critical feedback at work, from friends, or our spouses - all outside perspectives - can be difficult to hear. It stings because we never saw it coming.
Trying to look at your life as an outsider is a tough thing to do, however.
In fact, completely removing your own bias isn't possible. But, time is on our side. If we want to observe our lives from a near-pure perspective to learn from our past, time is the best asset we have.
Time numbs the emotional fog that obfuscates our judgment in the moment, and time affords us a new set of experiences that can shape the lens through which we evaluate our past.
In my latest book, I talk about how recording years of quotes, conversations, and interesting facts on the Notes app in my phone enabled me to look back at my life story from an "outsider's perspective." In this process, I identified a framework that exists in each of our lives – paradox.
A paradox is a feeling or an experience that feels strange or backward in the moment, but it actually makes complete sense once you step back and look at the whole picture.
I believe our lives are built on this principle of paradox. That's important, because understanding this not only helps us see the greater purpose behind our lives' most frustrating or confusing experiences, but the ordinary and everyday moments, too.
So, here's a list of paradoxes that have showed up in my life over the last few years. As you read, I'd be curious, which have you seen in your life? What others have you seen, but I haven't mentioned here? Please comment, I'd love to hear from you.
- Slow down and you’ll see more in life.
The bigger the failure the more learning you gain.
Ordinary people become our biggest heroes.
Paradox is the norm, not the exception.
We find true rest while we’re still at work.
Extraordinary moments are found in everyday settings.
The simplest gestures carry the most significant meaning.
The biggest goals are achieved by the smallest steps.
You only earn grace when you stop trying.
It’s easiest to hurt those you love most.
Your biggest life changes develop the fastest.
Disappointing beginnings create happy endings.
Your life’s deepest joys are found outside yourself.
You always lose something in the process of gaining something.
Complex life lessons come in simple packages.
Coincidentally, each paradox relates to a specific chapter in my upcoming book, Living Forward, Looking Backward. If you're interested in reading a free preview of the first 3 chapters, download it here: