While people generally like to think they're in touch with reality, the truth is that many of us shield ourselves from certain unpleasant facts to make us happier and more productive.Users on Quora recently discussed the question: "What is an example of something true that nobody generally wants to admit?"
From unpleasant insights about love to the truth about meritocracy, here are seven uncomfortable truths people don't like to admit:
1. Looks matter.
It's nice to believe in karmic justice where good things happen to good people, but Quora user Dania Faruqui points out that actually, good things tend to happen to good-looking people.
"We keep denying it all the time, but an attractive person has an upper hand over a not-so-attractive person most of the time. Ugly truth," Faruqui writes.
Indeed, research suggests that attractive people make more money and are seen as smarter and more trustworthy than people who aren't as alluring.
2. No one is truly altruistic.
Suraj Agarwal writes that "we are all self-centric; it's just the radius that varies," meaning that the only difference between selfish and unselfish people is how intensely they pursue their self-interest.
Ramachandra Bhakta takes this notion even further by sharing a quote from the Indian philosopher Chanakya to point out that even our most intimate relationships are created to serve our own needs: "There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth."
3. There is no such thing as a soulmate.
Quora user Soumadeep Mazumdar says that despite our personal delusions of grandeur, nobody is actually unique.
"No matter how ahead of the curve you think yourself to be, there will be thousands like you walking the same curve," Mazumdar writes. "You will think that you are the only one who has those odd fetishes or you are the only one awake at that particular hour of the night. But the truth is, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands who are exactly like you."
As a result, Mazumdar says that searching for your "one, true love" is a silly pursuit.
"There are millions who would satisfy your criteria of Ms. Right and Mr. Perfect. It is just coincidence that you found one of them and were acquainted to him or her and now consider them your soulmate."
4. Life is precious.
One of the most popular responses in the thread pointed out that everyone eventually dies, and it could happen at any moment.
While we all know we'll die one day, the suddenness with which death could come is something most of us try to forget.
As Quora user Mohit Sharma put it, "It's not like they don't believe it; they just ignore the fragility of life."
5. Nobody has any idea what they're doing.
If you are confused about what you want to do with your life, take solace in the knowledge that most, if not all of us, are also still figuring things out.
Quora user Josh Vogel writes, "It's drilled into our heads that we have to speak with certainty and confidence about things, especially if we are 'expert' in these things, but the truth is that we don't know."
Sri Teja adds that this uncertainty extends even to successful people who seem to have everything under control.
"The people you look up to are just as nervous as you are," Teja writes. "Succeeding gets a lot easier when you realize that everyone who has ever succeeded has doubted that things will work, has failed terribly, and has generally been where the rest of are: worrying and certain that they aren't good enough."
6. Success doesn't happen over night.
Quora user Samyadeep Basu writes, "Most successes happen in small steps and take a long time."
While many people search constantly for a quick fix to turn their lives around, the truth is that the hard work you put in today will likely only begin to pay off months, if not years, down the road.
Even then, Samantha Deakin writes, our hard work doesn't necessarily guarantee future returns.
"There are so many confounding variables in the equation, that often the most successful people have been incredibly lucky in ways that you can only really see when you look back on their lives," Deakin says.
7. The world is full of suffering.
While it is certainly worth trying to make things better, no individual's work will put a real dent in the pain and suffering people experience around the world.
In a particularly depressing post, Ishan Rana writes, "Somewhere at this very point in time, someone is being tortured, hostages are being held captive, someone is being raped, girls are being punished for studying, and maybe, just maybe, the homeless guy and his little kid you pass every day hasn't had lunch for days."
Quora user Andy Lim adds that this knowledge makes it difficult for him to enjoy his life of relative ease. "I choose to not believe this fact, at least while I'm indulging my self."
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