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  • Writer's pictureManish Nepal

We live in a world full of duality

As much as I think reading books leads to new revelations and perspectives, sometimes reading ends up confusing me even more.

For example, here are a few things I have read that get more confusing the more I think about them:

Like Yin and Yang, optimism and pessimism are the two sides of the same coin.

We fly on planes with the confidence to reach our destinations. But we have oxygen masks and life vests ready under our seats in case of an engine failure.

We prepare for our deaths and their aftermath with monthly insurance premiums and call it “life insurance.”

A surgeon assures her patient that there is a 98% success rate for his surgery. But she has blood donors on standby to prepare for an emergency transfusion—just in case.

Imposter syndrome paralyzes us and inhibits our true potential.

On the other hand, most of us also suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome which makes us act out of our inflated egos. Our societies, workplaces, and classrooms are chaotic because of this power imbalance.

One school of thought encourages us to "be yourself" in order to succeed, while the other teaches us to "fake it till you make it."

Conventional wisdom tells us that it’s better to be the jack of all trades and master of one. But according to geniuses like Naval Ravikant ("specialization is for insects") and David Epstein (author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World), generalists are the best.

Knowing the truth will set you free. But remember that there is no truth, only interpretations.

Always try out new things. But also focus learning on what's most important to you.

Develop such a mastery on a subject that you are indispensable. But know one thing, that you know nothing. Always keep a beginner’s mindset.

Be original—create something new in the world. But remember, there's nothing new except history that you do not know.

David Ogilvy said, tell people the truth but make it fascinating. However, other marketers will tell you that you don’t have to tell people the whole truth—except the truth that matters.

The duality that we live by is maddening to think of.

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