Patrick Gentempo is a name familiar to those who regularly check out the blog and podcast. I recently spoke with Patrick and he shared the Paper Napkin Wisdom, “Philosophy is the most practical tool for achievement!” Afterwards, Patrick told me that our discussion lit a fire in him so we decided to continue the conversation with a Part II. If you have not already, make sure to check out Part I.
This time, Patrick expanded on a line of thought he previously touched on by sharing this Ayn Rand quote as his Paper Napkin Wisdom: “Contradictions lead to destruction.” For Patrick, this gets to the heart of why philosophy is so important. The contradictions Rand spoke of are contradictions to our philosophies. Because our philosophies affect every important aspect of our lives – from relationships to health and fitness to our careers – contradictions to our philosophies can lead to destruction in those same areas. Thus, Patrick emphasizes the importance of identifying the contradictions in our lives and routing them out.
As a practical example of how a contradiction in philosophy can cause destruction, Patrick mentions a boy who, growing up, was told by his mother that wealthy people were crooks. Without realizing it, the boy integrated that notion into his philosophy and his metaphysical view then contained the following contraction: In order to become spiritually wealthy, he had to move away from material wealth. Thus, as an adult, he would unconsciously sabotage all of his efforts to earn and make money until he eliminated that contradiction.
Of course, Patrick is quick to acknowledge that no one is 100% contradiction-free. Even with the knowledge that it is unattainable as humans, perfection can be a positive thing to strive towards and this is true of eliminating contradictions. According to Patrick, personal development comes from exactly this: finding contradictions, removing them, and evolving to the next level of effectiveness.
Patrick does not consider humans fundamentally lazy. Instead, he sees people paralyzed by contradictions they don’t even know they have. Therefore, by resolving contradictions, action will begin to take place and success on a higher level will follow. But, for many, the challenge lies in figuring out how to eliminate contradictions.
Patrick suggests approaching this systematically. He encourages everyone to “map” their philosophy by mapping their mind and thinking. This type of ritual identification of our philosophies was covered in Part I and does not have to take a long time. Once mapped, the contradictions in our philosophies will become evident. Eliminating them, however, can be both easy and difficult, says Patrick.
At first, many of us will find low-hanging fruit: contradictions that we can easily eliminate. By doing so, we may quickly see the benefits because even the low-hanging fruit can lead to amazing transformations. But sustaining new habits is where hard work is in order. Eliminating some contradictions may be a life-long pursuit.
Listen to the conversation with Patrick here: