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The Paradise Paradox

Written by: Dijana Kokai, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Quitting a corporate job and moving to a beautiful island does not solve all problems.

Making a big change in your life to be more fulfilled, joyful, and aligned, or moving to an exotic island, where it’s all beaches, sunshine, and daily coconuts should fix all your worries, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Who would have believed that removing yourself from a demanding consulting job, leaving a busy city filled with traffic and too many people behind, will not create the desired change you were looking for?

But why?

Because people (including myself) tend to fix things by focusing on the external world like:

  • Working hard for a promotion because it boosts self-confidence;

  • Getting a new job to feel more appreciated;

  • Having a drink or two regularly after work to calm down;

  • Moving to a new apartment to improve your life;

  • Looking for an intimate partner for love and attention.

None of the above is generally wrong, but if it was chosen to fill a void within, it can only go so far. Most external accomplishments that were chosen from a point of scarcity can only be short-term fixes. Constantly seeking something more in order to soothe the internal pain is exhausting. Searching for something in places where it cannot be found is a game that only takes time and energy but will not offer the desired outcome. And that is the paradox, a self-contradictory behaviour that is believed to be the ‘right way’ but only brings you further away from your own peace.

How can you identify if and where in your life you might use external validations?

  1. Sit down and be still for a few minutes, ideally at the beginning of the day;

  2. Take a piece of paper and list all the things that are missing in your life. At first, it will be external objects but keep going. As you continue, you will find that underneath there are needs and emotions that are not met.

  3. Ask yourself: What can I do differently to meet these needs?

Here are a few examples from the points above:

  • Boost your self-confidence by not criticizing yourself anymore or set boundaries with others;

  • Get more appreciation by speaking up, appreciating others or taking care of yourself;

  • Calm down by going for a run, doing yoga or meditating;

  • Enhance your life by understanding what is truly ‘missing’;

  • Provide love and attention to yourself first.

There are so many more alternatives to meet your needs, by taking the time to look inward, you will find what works best for you.

The good and the bad news

The good news

When you decide to stop looking outside to fix what feels dissatisfying inside of you, you have already taken the first step. You raised your awareness, and you are consciously responding to what you need, rather than reacting to what you don’t have. Keep exploring and asking yourself what you really need.

The bad news

This is not a one-off exercise. There is no quick fix for this. You might have been operating for years in the old pattern. Allow yourself the time and energy needed to explore your needs. Set some time aside every week to get to know yourself a little bit better.

Don’t fall for the Paradise Paradox. Everything you truly need is already in sight; you just have to look in the right direction.

Follow me on LinkedIn. You may also visit my website for more info!


Dijana Kokai, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

After spending more than a decade in a competitive corporate environment, Dijana chose to leave everything behind and moved from Zurich to sunny and tropical Bali.

She is an ICF certified coach and founder of ‘The Storychanger’. Her coaching focuses on driving ambitious corporate women to start chasing their dreams and not just their next promotion and still kick a*s! Dijana isn't shy about walking the talk and living a life on her terms.

She is a strong advocate for changing your past by becoming aware of what stands in your way to live the life you truly deserve.



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