Decision making

Accepting contradictory ideas at the same time

Accepting contradictory ideas

All the arguments and fights between individuals start with two separate ideas that contradict themselves.

Our way of thinking creates all our ideas. Sometimes however we stumble upon ideas that contract themselves. When that happens, we are taught to simply accept one or the other. However, there is an important question to consider… Can we accept two contradictory ideas at the same time?

Why not both ideas?

Our lives, our careers, and even the world that we are living in, uses systems and rules to function properly. These systems and rules are based on ideas. We might agree with some, and disagree with the others. Sometimes, however, we want to believe that the system works even if we can see that it is based on ideas that are contradictory. When we do that, we simply ignore the differences. 

That is an efficient way to cope with the system. Sometimes it can be really hard to accept two opposing ideas at the same time. On the other hand, sometimes we do it without realizing it. For instance:

  • A politician might believe in general transparency and openness, yet they also understand and believe that secrecy in certain things is important.
  • We might believe that we will succeed in doing something and also know that we will learn from our mistakes.
  • A salesman can convince themselves that the products they are selling are the very best, yet they prefer the competitor’s products for their personal use.

Accepting two contradictory ideas at the same time in our minds can sound like hypocrisy. We might even judge other people for doing this. However, we do that without realizing it.

Quote mark
“We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.“— Friedrich Nietzsche

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Social norms and rules are based on this concept. Once we understand that, we can see that there’s no surprise that we run into so many heated arguments with our friends, or close ones.

We are told that we should dream as much as possible and then follow our dreams, while at the same time, society is based on the idea of finding a well-paid job that is as secure as possible. The question is… How can we live in a dream world while having to pay for our bills in the real world?

Part of some religions the idea of fate is generally accepted as true. Yet at the same time, people part of this ideology promote free will. Now the question is… How can fate and free will exist together?

We all know that to be part of a group, to be accepted by others, and to have friends, we should not say things that hurt people, that is rude and inappropriate, even if we want to, or we think about it. Yet people that think they are good, will accept the idea of not telling lies. The question is… How can you not tell lies and yet don’t say anything that’s rude?

When we want to act childish, people around us will tell us to act our age. It is strange when adult people are playing with children’s toys. But yet again, we are told that we are as old as we think we are. How can we accept both of these ideas at the same time? And yet we do.

Now it’s YOUR turn

  1. How would you define a hypocrite?
  2. Can you think of a situation in which two contradictory ideas are true to yourself at the same time?


Through this article series, we are helping you build a solid mindset. We are strong believers that once we can understand a subject, we can engage with the idea or refuse it altogether. Both ways are helping us grow and develop our own way of seeing the world.

In the end, everything starts with us, with our mind, our self, and even our stories. Choose to act now on Studylia.

If your fitness trainer can help you get fit in the gym, we will help you get a fit Mindset. Let’s connect on FacebookLinkedInInstagramTwitterTikTokYouTube and share some ideas.

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