Contradiction

Recently, I’ve been trying to formulate a system to help me navigate contradictory information. Basically, if you can complete a task one way but also complete it another way, isn’t that a sign of a core truth you’re not seeing?

The simplest example I can think of is people asking an author what type of pencil she uses to write her stories. While it seems like a stupid question, there was a spike in the minimalist writing craze after George R. R. Martin publicly announced that he was still writing Game of Thrones series on an MS DOS machine running WordStar:

WordStar, the program used to write Game of Thrones

People have a tendency to believe too much in specific methodologies without truly understanding the reasoning behind them.

If you were trying to find a business idea, you might hear an assortment of advice like follow your passion and follow the money. But there are plenty of stories of people succeeding by following either of these entirely opposite approaches, so what gives?

Maybe there’s something we’re not seeing – something underneath both of those. It might just be about finding an audience who’s willing to pay for something you can build. And if you want to enjoy the process, you just need to filter through the ideas people will pay for to find something you want to build.

When trying to diet, you hear all kinds of conflicting advice: cut carbs, limit portions, go vegan, do a juice cleanse, follow keto, do paleo. But none of that matters either. The reality is simple: eat less calories than you burn. You can lose weight drinking Mai Tais and eating pizza every day as long as you burn more calories than you consume.

Most advice is a facade sitting on top of real truths.

Find the truths, and reason up from there.