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The Best and the Worst of Someone

The Best and the Worst of Someone

A random little idea I had years ago became part of my worldview and makes me see things—and people—in a different way.

At the risk of sounding like someone who enjoys sniffing their own farts, let me say that one of my favorite observations in all of my writing actually has nothing to do with psychology or personal growth or philosophy. Many years ago I wrote an article about what I learned traveling all over the world where I made the observation that the best thing about a country is usually the worst thing about it as well.

Whether it’s the United States’ obsessive focus on business opportunity or Brazil’s spontaneous partying attitude or Japan’s excessive politeness—the things that make these cultures great are also their Achilles' heel and, as a result, the root of many of their problems.

This is one of those things that I came up with as I was writing it but I've found it coming up in conversation almost constantly in the years since.

Because it doesn’t just apply to countries, it seems to apply to almost anything. The best thing about a company is usually also the worst thing. The best thing about a person is usually also the worst thing. The best thing about a film or television show is often also the …

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