Our brains have an incredible capacity to forge tangible results out of a mindset. When we build a habit in a particular way of thought, we begin to train our brain to see the world through that lens. In this instance, if you’re looking for ways to be lucky, you’re strengthening the neurons that refine your awareness in the relevant domains.
How to be perfectly unhappy.
If all of your self-esteem eggs are in one basket, you’ll become very obsessive about the state of that basket. As your identity is tied up in one job and one career, you compare yourself more easily to all the other professionals are also specializing in that single line of work.
The despair from comparing ourselves with others is the original fake news. We need to develop a new relationship with our thoughts.
Lately, personality psychologists have taken a more moderate view: If personality traits do change, they change slowly, and the overall difference over time tends to be modest.
What are some of the things you ‘surround’ yourself to keep going even after repeated failures. Failing can be related to any task in life - startup/job/relationships. What are some of things which inspire you and help you pull yourself back to chug along the track again.
My overwhelming schedule left me exhausted and empty. Here’s how I fought back.
To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.
With apps taking over our lives, there’s a movement afoot as people yearn for simpler, technology-free times.
Your ambitions to improve your life do not need to be confined by your personality.
Living a ‘purer’ life isn’t about turning off your smartphone.
Technology is commanding our attention in infinite, insurmountable loops. A country trip off-grid helped me escape.
Luck has a lot to do with success. We just don’t want to admit it.
It can seem like our lives are filled with busyness, noise, distractions, and often meaningless activities. What if we could filter out all that noise, and focus on the meaningful?
Here’s a New Year’s challenge for the mind: Make this the year that you quiet all those negative thoughts swirling around your brain.
The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.
Edward Burtynsky photographs changing landscapes—each one an imprint of human ambition.
Social isolation is a growing epidemic, one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences.
If you could pick one place or city in the world where you’d live and work (software dev) for the next 10 years. Where would it be? And why would you pick that place?
The principle is simple: Don’t just plant a tree, plant an orchard.
Proof that life is getting better for humanity, in 5 charts.
The end of a year is the perfect time to review one’s life, goals, plans, and projects, as well as plan for the upcoming year. I’ve been fine-tuning my own review process for several years and thought others might be interested to know what I do and how.
The good life is the simple life. Among philosophical ideas about how we should live, this one is a hardy perennial; from Socrates to Thoreau, from the Buddha to Wendell Berry, thinkers have been peddling it for more than two millennia.
The concept of “ownership” as we know it is quickly changing. Traditionally, we’ve been tied to the idea of possession, paying for products and services outright or taking years (or decades) to pay off a home mortgage or car loan. Nowadays, everything seems to be available for rent or subscription.
Should you drink more coffee? Should you take melatonin? Can you train yourself to need less sleep? A physician’s guide to sleep in a stressful age.
We all need fuel. Without the assistance, advice, and inspiration of others, the gears of our mind grind to a halt, and we’re stuck with nowhere to go. I have been blessed to find mentors and idols at every step of my life, and I’ve been lucky to meet many of them.
Living at home with your parents isn’t just for little kids anymore. Young adults are now more likely to live with their parents than in any other living arrangement, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.
A December Gallup poll found that 61 percent of working Americans said they did not have enough time to do the things they wanted to do. Some of us feel this more acutely than others: A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found that 9 in 10 working mothers said they felt rushed all or some of the time. In an attempt to understand this frenzy, I spent the past 12 months studying my own time during what might turn out to be the busiest year of my life.
New research recently found that starting at age 25, we lose more friends than we make each year.
Our devices are so deeply enmeshed in our lives that we anticipate them being there at all times with access to the full range of the internet’s offerings.
Being “needed” does not entail selfish pride or unhealthy attachment to the worldly esteem of others. Rather, it consists of a natural human hunger to serve our fellow men and women. As the 13th-century Buddhist sages taught, “If one lights a fire for others, it will also brighten one’s own way.”
It’s easy to compare yourself against other people especially as they flood our screens with images. But when you compete against other people, you judge yourself based on their values and metrics. The problem with this is even if you win, you only do something that’s important to them, not you.
Starting something in the hopes of making an extra $1,000 a month is every bit as worthy as trying to colonize Mars. Start small and give your ambitions room to grow.
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken.
If you actually are trying to become great at something, it’s probably on your mind all the time. It’s very hard to love something and not be working on it or talking about it.
How much rest do we think we need, who is getting the most, and what are the most restful activities? The results of the world’s largest survey on rest indicate that to feel truly rested, a lot of us want to be alone.
Two new books assess the quality of our digital lives: How do we shake off the village when we carry the world in our pocket?
What do you regret in life?
I’m 22 and am debating whether or not I should be buckling down and saving for more college/life savings or if I should use my extra money for travel. Advice from those of you older and wiser is appreciated
For the traveler whose time is spent making snap-judgment impressions all day, every day, an expensive watch can be a shortcut to a kind of acceptance, however cheap it might be.
I decide to do something over the weekend may be a small project or learn something new or prepare for interview, but Saturday and Sunday goes by and I do nothing but to browse internet, facebook, youtube and going through links. At the end of Sunday, I feel like, I wasted my weekend and get little bit depressed. If anyone has gone through process, can you please share how to got out of this loop on every week end?
Getting out of your comfort zone sounds awesome but the odds are that while this will expose you to new experiences, you’re unlikely to be above average at anything you try at first.
“In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.”
But I realized that one are that technology was having an unhealthy impact on my life and that was in the bedroom. Like many of you I dragged my mobile phone into my bedroom at night and would occasionally check email or Twitter or Facebook before bed. I used my iPhone as my alarm clock and I often did 20 minutes of email in bed in the morning before starting my day.
Three early retirees tell their story of living on 4 percent or less.
We are all fragile when we don’t know what our purpose is, when we haven’t thrown ourselves with abandon into a social role, when we haven’t committed ourselves to certain people, when we feel like a swimmer in an ocean with no edge.
Babies born today have a good chance of surviving to be 105. If they are to exploit the great opportunities raised by longevity we must abandon outdated notions of a traditional life.
If you think everyone around you is terrible, the joke may be on you.
An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.
The rich were meant to have the most leisure time. The working poor were meant to have the least. The opposite is happening. Why?
For starters, you need to stop thinking about what you enjoy, and instead - start thinking about your strengths and the opportunities around you.
It’s become a status symbol to be busy, which is absurd when you consider its effects on well-being.
I’ve always wondered growing up - what makes adults so busy? Sure, you’re working a 40 hour a week job but the rest should just be fun and games, right?
I’m not saying that you should never buy a house. Just don’t make it your life ambition, much less try to fit your entire life inside it.
Don’t worry about finding your ‘passion.’ Think like a designer: Try out quick prototypes of multiple ideas to learn what actually makes you happy.
If you look at all the data, it’s clear there’s never been a better time to be alive.
What’s an item on your bucket list that’s off the wall unique, but still realistically achievable?
What was your “why didn’t I start doing this sooner” moment?
“Loneliness is a warning system,” says Louise Hawkley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. It is our body telling us we’re breaking from the social bonds that nourished us as a species.
In the novel Catch-22, the author Joseph Heller famously wrote: “Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.”
This post is a framework to quickly get you into the top 5–10 percent of your field so you can begin the real quest of becoming the best at what you do.
What did you learn too late in life?
Modern culture is in the throes of a real love affair with travel. It’s become a central element of our zeitgeist, a main tenet in living a fulfilled, non-pedestrian life. Everywhere you turn, and no matter the dilemma, travel is offered as the cure… But is our faith in travel justified? Or have we forced it to bear the weight of far heavier expectations than it should be made to carry?
How do you find friends after moving to a new city?
I am having a lot of free time during this period but I don’t seem to get any good ideas into my head like it used to be when I was busy. What do you guys do when you don’t have any good idea? How do you look for inspiration? Have you guys faced similar situations?
What was your “why didn’t I start doing this sooner” moment?
But what people aren’t talking about, and what’s getting my attention, is a forthcoming rapid demonetization of the cost of living.
I do things, I try things, I build things, I want to make progress, I want to make things better for me, my company, my family, my neighborhood, etc. But I’ve never set a goal. It’s just not how I approach things.
You have the drive and motivation to get to your destination but once you are there – you’re left wondering – “what else could I have done? What else is there to life? Because if this is all there is then I’m not happy.” And, truth be told, I am not happy. I’d like to be something – more than just an office person. More than just someone who works that 8-5 shift.
The counterintuitive insight from all of this research is that the best way to change your entire life is by not changing your entire life. Instead, it is best to focus on one specific habit, work on it until you master it, and make it an automatic part of your daily life. Then, repeat the process for the next habit.
What should I be doing with my life? That’s when I (finally) started to recognize the pattern. If I always asked myself the question assuming I had to make a life altering career choice that very day, I would always be stumped, scared and frustrated.
What often goes unnoticed, though, is that anxieties about exhaustion are not peculiar to our age. Those who imagine that life in the past was simpler, slower and better are wrong.
For me the concept of work/life balance is bullshit. The fact that we call it work/life balance automatically implies that one of the two is negative and we need to balance it with the other.
Well, I would say, reading is some kind of essential prerequisite to everything you do. Whether you are a scientist or a filmmaker, or just a normal human being working in a more “normal” profession. I cannot argue much about it. Read, read, read, read, read. The other side, traveling on foot, nobody does it and what I said will disappear into thin air any moment from now. Traveling on foot has actually given me insight into the world itself. The world reveals itself to one who travel on foot. I can give you one example, you start to understand the heart of men. I was, for a film, at the Johnson Space Center and had to take to five astronauts who had done a space mission in a space shuttle. I wanted to persuade them to be extras in the film in a very strange way. They were sitting in a semi circle when I was taken in and my heart sank that I didn’t know “what should I say? what should I do?” I looked around and looked into their faces and all of a sudden I had the feeling, I understand these people. I understand the heart of these men and these women. I said “since I was a child, when I learned how to milk a cow with my own hands, I can tell that since I’ve traveled on foot and in the meadow first you milk a cow to have something to drink. I know by looking at faces, who is able to milk a cow.” I looked at the pilot and said “you sir!” and he burst out in smiles and says “yes, I can milk a cow.” Somehow when you make films, you understand the heart of men. In a way you cannot learn it, the world has to teach you. The world does it in it’s most intense and deepest way when you when you encounter it by traveling on foot.
I’d like to add that when I travel by foot, I don’t do it as a backpacker where you take all your household items with you, your tent, your sleeping bag, your cooking utensils. I travel without any luggage and I do not travel, let’s say, the specific trail 2000 miles which is marked. I do traveling for very intense quests in my life. I do that on foot.
When I hear the realism that comes from founders with setback it elicits an understanding of what it takes to be successful at a startup that frankly can’t exist unless you’ve walked in those shoes before.
I believe in the side hustle 100%. It’s unrealistic to think that you could ever reach a moment where you can just cut off all financial security and start the career of your dreams. Unless you have years of savings or planning a couchsurfing trip.
Indeed, the compulsive urge to immediately, electronically exhibit one’s self is a phenomenon made uniquely possible by our digital age. Yes, there are benefits to being able to share more images with a greater audience. But the impulse to incessantly document and post has taken precedent over simple focus and direct human connection.
Happiness is not the same as a sense of meaning. How do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one?
The idea of “grit” speaks to our deepest wishes: we all want to believe in our own limitless potential, and that of our children.
Have you ever just said F@#%k it? ..Wiped the slate clean? Just dropped the mic…and walked away into a whole new uncharted life? Career-wise that is. Would love to hear your story/musings/wisdom.
Curious to have a discussion surrounding whether people have successfully maintained a four hour work week. Also included can be those that have completely automated businesses too. On a personal note, I find freedom in being able to not work the 9-5 job. If I were to work 9=5 this would be certainly side income with the hope to then quit the 9-5.
Essentially, we are forced to choose. Would you rather live a life that is unbalanced, but high-performing in a certain area? Or would you rather live a life that is balanced, but never maximizes your potential in a given quadrant?
American society increasingly mistakes intelligence for human worth.
A 21st-century education should prepare people not only for joining the workforce, but also (and more importantly) for life.
On today’s show, Andrew talks about the transformative power of travel, a life-changing trip to Madagascar, and the decision he made to be himself, rather than a character of himself, on Bizarre Foods.
Like me, you might be a liberal who loves Uber and Airbnb. But the darker side of the new economy isn’t something we can simply ignore.
Most of us lose time to negative thoughts; reframe your thinking and feel more positive.
The Japanese don’t sleep. They don’t nap. They do ‘inemuri’. Dr Brigitte Steger explains.
Many people cheat on taxes—no mystery there. But many people don’t, even if they wouldn’t be caught—now, that’s weird. Or is it? Psychologists are deeply perplexed by human moral behavior, because it often doesn’t seem to make any logical sense. You might think that we should just be grateful for it. But if we could understand these seemingly irrational acts, perhaps we could encourage more of them.
Next time people say, “just be yourself,” stop them in their tracks. No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head. They just want you to live up to what comes out of your mouth.
Science-informed suggestions to help you have greater health, growth, and happiness.
Trying to find your passion is a recipe for disaster – or at best, a recipe for horrible disappointment (note: the recipe includes pickles). What if you can’t find it? What if you find it and then a few days later you realize that wasn’t it at all?
Our minds want to run from whatever discomfort, pain, difficulty we’re facing… and this is a good strategy for temporarily not having to deal with difficulty and pain. So in the present moment, we might feel some temporary relief. But what it does is relegate us to a life of running.
Quitting your job to pursue your passion is bullshit. This messaging is only beneficial for privileged people and very dangerous for working class people.
As you point your phone at everything from Notre Dame to a slice of chocolate cake, remember these images will take on significance only after you have gone.
For the first time since the 1880s, more young Americans are living with their parents than with a romantic partner.
A specific set of neurons deep in the brain may motivate us to seek company, holding social species together.
What is something someone said that forever changed your way of thinking?
It’s a paradox: Shouldn’t the most accomplished be well equipped to make choices that maximize life satisfaction?
They say you stay up too late and got nothing in your brain? It’s normal to care what important people in your life think of you. But if caring too much makes you stressed or you live your life by others’ expectations, it may be time to push back. Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen offers nine ways to stop caring what other people think.
Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective.
Most people don’t know what to do with their lives. And that’s okay.
And indeed, as we race from the office to the gym to a dinner, proudly showing off our jam-packed schedules, it’s worth remembering Kierkegaard’s warnings about busyness from centuries ago. He wrote:
Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy—to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work… What, I wonder, do these busy folks get done?
When people see themselves as self-made, they tend to be less generous and public-spirited.
Kids are still unplugging and trying out The Hobo Life—but what happens when you add Wi-Fi and Indiegogo campaigns and iPhone apps to the experience?
So what, then, is success? Because it is not money. That I know. And it is not some physical achievement. That I know. It is not a book written or a reward received or a job completed or a promotion anointed. Here are the stages of success that I think exist. I can easily be wrong. This is what works for me now.
Here are the bite-sized nuggets of wisdom our LIVE Chat guests—from singers to pro basketball players to venture capitalists—want to share with the world.
Surviving is succeeding, no doubt about it. Doing the work is better than not doing the work. Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress. But, and it’s a huge but, you define yourself by the work you do, and perhaps you need to redefine what you’re willing to take and where you’re looking for it.
Fear is what causes us to buy things we don’t really need. Fear keeps us holding onto stuff we don’t need.
A lot of people get minimalism confused. It’s not necessarily a good way to live. Or a free way to live for many people. It’s just the way I like to live. I like to be a wanderer. Without knowing where I am going to end up. To explore with no goal. To love without expectation.
Busy, distracted, inattentive? Everybody has been since at least 1710 and here are the philosophers to prove it.
Burning out early helps no one. WHY are we running? What are we running towards? Are you trying to get promoted, a better title, more money for your family, an early retirement, good healthcare? Ask yourself these questions so you at least know and you’re conscious about your motivations. Sometimes we forget WHY we work.
Being rich isn’t about money. It’s about abundance. Here’s why.
The following is a short list of principles, that if applied, will empower you to make the most of every moment of your life. To be sure, developing these habits is not easy in our heavily distracted and externally-driven world.
Telling young people to discover their true selves causes confusion and anxiety. Better to follow Confucius, who knew that our identities are in constant flux.
A couple of weeks ago, I reported on the science of chronobiology, which finds we all have an internal clock that keeps us on a consistent sleep and wake cycle. But the key finding is that everyone’s clock is not the same. Most people fall in the middle, preferring to sleep around 11 pm to 7 am. But many — perhaps 40 percent of the population — don’t naturally fit in this schedule.
New research suggests being in charge is appealing because it offers freedom—not because it allows people to control others.
A star political blogger for Grist.org, David Roberts spent so much time posting and Tweeting and staring at screens that he almost went nuts. So he pulled the plug for a year, restarting his relationship with technology and actively seeking health, balance, and adventure in the real world. What he learned just might save you from meltdown.
But the reason you’re not productive isn’t because you don’t know what to do with all of your extra time, it’s because the hours of your day have been wasted. If you’ve already spent 8 hours doing something unrelated to what you should be doing, no tip or trick will help you gain back that time. It’s gone.
Our jobs have become prisons from which we don’t want to escape.
We’ve all been there: bored in class, bored at work, bored in stand still traffic. But why do we find boredom so unbearable? And, if we hate boredom so much, why do we still take boring jobs? This week on Hidden Brain, we try to answer these questions and more – hopefully, without boring you.
Has anyone moved out of SF/SV to work in a different tech city? If so, where?
Anyone who wants to master a skill must run through the cycle of practice, critical feedback, modification, and incremental improvement again, again, and again. Some people seem able to concentrate on practicing an activity like this for years and take pleasure in their gradual improvement. Yet others find this kind of focused, time-intensive work to be frustrating or boring. Why?
The pros and cons of carrying your home on your back and creating a living out of travel.
I traveled around the country telling strangers how to balance their workloads and better their lives—until I learned the hard way that the people offering to solve your problems are often the ones who need help the most.
Telling kids that they can do anything—whether fueled by imagination or hard work—obscures the critical role of chance in success. Not every child who wants to be a surgeon or sports star can become one, even if they work hard at it. At the same time, in every success story there is the grace of good fortune. As Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman puts it: “Success = Talent + Luck. Great success = A little more talent + A Lot of Luck.”
The factors that most affect our life chances are revealed as the first group of British babies followed in a remarkable cradle-to-grave study turns 70.
The notion that there is a “normal” height or a “normal” salary is a relatively new one, and it’s had a profound effect on how people think about each other and themselves.
When people repeatedly move from place to place, they may be more willing to let go of relationships.
We’re conditioned early on, especially as women, to value security above all else and cling on to it at all costs and it takes an exceptional sort of fearlessness to tune out the expectations of the people in your life and risk your own security, in pursuit of genuine happiness.
The media critic on the malfunctioning tech economy, digital detoxes and why Facebook is unhygenic.
Unfortunately, the less time we invest in people, the easier it is to make do without them, until one day it becomes too awkward to reconnect. “Since we haven’t spoken for so long,” we think, “where would we even begin? If we were still close friends wouldn’t we have spoken more by now?” This is how friendships die — they starve to death.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”
We act as if we can read enough articles and enough little Pinterest quotes and suddenly the little switch in our brain will put us into action. But, honestly, here’s the thing that nobody really talks about when it comes to success and motivation and willpower and goals and productivity and all those little buzzwords that have come into popularity: you are as you are until you’re not. You change when you want to change. You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best. That’s just how it happens.
In English, for example, the word “happy” can refer to different things. It might mean a fleeting mood you feel when someone surprises you with a gift or you think of friends and family. Or it could refer to a deeper and less malleable state of satisfaction with your life. But not all languages refer to happiness the same way.
Getting stuff done in the morning is important because it makes our brains sing. When we accomplish something big in the morning—a good workout, writing, decent progress on a project—we set ourselves up for success throughout the rest of the day. That’s why having a morning routine is so crucial.
Happiness and meaning are strongly correlated with each other, and often feed off each other. The more meaning we find in life, the more happy we typically feel, and the more happy we feel, the more we often feel encouraged to pursue even greater meaning and purpose. But not always.
Humanity has conquered the world. It’s hard to appreciate what that means, but the video above, by WorldPopulationHistory.org, shows just how incredible the growth and expansion of humanity has been over the past 2,000 years.
Many people believe themselves to be multitasking masters, but could it all be in their heads?
How using the Five Minute journal method made Tim Ferriss and thousands of others 100% happier.
The utopian workplace is here, complete with roof gardens, therapists and time to nap. Can the employee ever escape?
In an age when the line between childhood and adulthood is blurrier than ever, what is it that makes people grown up?
But fuck all these end of year bullshit get-your-life-together-with-these-five-steps articles. Medium and Twitter and fucking Facebook have been completely saturated with them for two weeks now. The only life hack you need is the one about cleaning your oven overnight with, like, a box of baking soda or some shit.
Who better to answer questions about the purpose of life than someone who has been living theirs for a long time?
After making enormous mistakes myself, and learning from other people’s mistakes, I’ve learned 4 lessons that might help you next time you screw up.
Americans work some of the longest hours in the Western world, and many struggle to achieve a healthy balance between work and life. As a result, there is an understandable tendency to assume that the problem we face is one of quantity: We simply do not have enough free time. “If I could just get a few more hours off work each week,” you might think, “I would be happier.” This may be true. But the situation, I believe, is more complicated than that.
Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, expected his students to pay attention to his lectures. But he would never expect that the rest of the world would listen to it too. As of today, more than 17 million people have tuned in Randy Pausch’s last lecture.
Human beings have been procrastinating for centuries. Even prolific artists like Victor Hugo are not immune to the distractions of daily life. The problem is so timeless, in fact, that ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.
I know in my life, going from being overwhelmed with clutter to minimalism was a slow but rewarding journey, and now I feel happy every time I look around and see the lovely space around me. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to testify that it’s not impossible, and it just takes some small steps that add up over time. Here are the rules I suggest — though I don’t suggest adopting them all, and especially not all at once. Try a few out, see how they work for you, then try a few others.
Just as effective as adding something to our lives, if not more so, is subtracting the things that might be holding us back. In truth, oftentimes the path to becoming a better man is found in following the via negativa — the negative way.
In many ways we are a culture exceptionally filled with stress, distraction, anxiety, struggle and despair. But we don’t have to let the scale and severity of the challenges dictate how we live and feel about our lives. Because we all have a superpower.
Practices such as working from home could do more harm than good, research finds, as many employees never ‘switch off’.
For all the changes that we observed over the past decade, much has also stayed the same. Twentysomethings are spending similar amounts of time on exercise, household maintenance, and education. And even in areas like sleep, where there has been a change, it’s not an amount that fundamentally changed this group’s life. For the areas that have seen large movement in time use, like travel, shopping and playing games, it seems like the main catalyst for that change has been the Internet.
As children, we have vivid imaginations. We stay up late waiting for Santa Claus, dream of becoming President, and have ideas that defy physics. Then something happens. As we grow older, we start editing our imagination.
If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything. A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
When it comes to gaining control over bad habits, like eating food we know isn’t good for us, I shared with her the only thing that has worked for me. I call it “progressive extremism,” and it works particularly well in situations in which substituting one habit for another just won’t do.
Or consider the ups and downs of everyday life. I said something inappropriate at a party last week, and I’m still a bit mortified. Yesterday, I gave a great talk; today is a real bad hair day. This year I worked hard on my introductory psychology class; last year, I phoned it in. Because such contrasts are so salient in our minds, we think others are sensitive to them as well; we think they notice. But research finds that they don’t, at least not to the extent we think they do.
I said in my last post, “You will never figure out what’s right until you fix what you already know is inherently wrong.” So I’ve been doing that and simplifying the hell out of my life. That includes everything from relationships that weren’t good for me to bad habits like biting my nails. Recently I’ve even removed things like alcohol and sugar to help me keep this focus while I figure out what’s “right”. The key has just been to S L O W it all down. It’s so hard at first, but it’s gotten easier every day.
The daily habits and thought processes of your idols are certainly a contributing factor to the quality of their lives, but only because they have realised that those things work for them. Those things add something of value to their lives on an individual level. Those things are deeply personal, and they’re not something that can be copy-pasted into your own life with any guarantee of impact or effectiveness.
How you and the world have changed since you were born.
The 2008 financial crisis taught me about the illusion of control, and how to give it up.
It’s really easy to get off-course in life. Like airplanes, we constantly need to make course-corrections. But we can ensure we get where we want in life by organizing ourselves, planning for our future, tracking our progress, heightening our mindset, and hustling.
Everyone’s been rejected - these are our stories.
There is no point in waiting for the perfect moment. There is no such thing as a perfect moment.
“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today… The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
My mother taught me never to give unsolicited advice, nor try to help anyone unless they ask you for it. I always thought that maybe she was just cold. As I get older, I have started to realize that she was right. My mother is one of the kindest people in my life.
Nearly 100 years after our modern idea of home was invented, we started a company that aims to create something better. Because seemingly exotic lifestyle choices available to a few should be accessible to many. It should be easy for you to live a life that’s more communal. Global. And interesting. While we’ll address reliable housing for nomads first, the bigger story is outlined below.
Setting aside my secret hope that technological advances will let me live to 700, I see three takeaways here:
Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.
Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.
Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.
This reminds me that one of the under-rated skills in life is the ability to know one’s skill.
I traded a typical night-owl schedule—up ’til midnight or later, staring at a screen, writing, doing design work, coding—for an uncommon routine where I go to sleep early, wake up early, and get a lot of work done in those quiet morning hours. Here are the lessons I’d share with anyone who wants to wake up early.
Housing can be a lot more difficult than just choosing a place and moving in. Sometimes, when the situation calls for it, creativity and innovation come in handy. Here are five stories of people that have disregarded the “traditional” way of living and found their place on their own terms.
“We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person.”
Most people worry about what other people think of them. Most people worry about their health. Most people are at a crossroads and don’t know how to take the next step and which road to take it on. Everyone is in a perpetual state of ‘where do I put my foot next’. Nobody, including me, can avoid that.
“Don’t commit to one idea of the future but instead, commit to a problem that you want to solve. Then you can stay committed to the problem and continually try to find the ongoing and ever-changing answer to that problem.”
For 5000 years or longer, humanity has driven forward with story-telling. Too many people forget that but the only way to really communicate effectively is through story… Too often we apply for grants. Or we apply to a company. Or we apply to the government. And then we wait. And we wait. And we want that one special person to choose us.
Stories are one of the most powerful forces of persuasion available to us, especially stories that fit in with our view of what the world should be like. Facts can be contested. Stories are far trickier. I can dismiss someone’s logic, but dismissing how I feel is harder.
A new study of hundreds of thousands of women finds no difference in mortality between the happy and the unhappy.
For me my time at McDonalds was invaluable. Yeah, I never want to scoop fries or make burgers again, but I learnt something more important. I started to chip away at my arrogance. I challenged the ways I dehumanized people for their job. I stopped equating dislike for big shitty companies with dislike for their foot soldiers. I developed more empathy.
In the ‘gig’ or ‘sharing’ economy, say the experts, we will do lots of different jobs as technology releases us from the nine to five. But it may also bring anxiety, insecurity and low wages.
A cool thing about moving to another country is that your life gets longer. Last year I calculated, that I should move to Colombia, and since then I’ve lived about two months more than I would have otherwise. I know you think I’m bullshitting you, but hear me out!
Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.
This is what he told me.
Research suggests saying thanks regularly can benefit your health.
Imagine a life where we could enjoy simple, free pleasures like going for a walk in nature, meditating, reading a book, writing. By buying less we’d have less debt, less clutter, less to take care of. We’d need smaller houses, less storage. Perhaps we could even work less to support all this buying, unless the work were something we loved to do.
Once you’ve taken care of the basics, there’s very little in this world for which your life is worth deferring. You’ve likely already found or at least seen the very best things (whether you know it or not). Make them count.
Our vision is to make moving so easy and information about life quality so transparent that we would end up with a world where countries and cities compete for each citizen (not vice versa).
Work-life balance doesn’t exist in a world where sippy cups, Algebra lessons, Swedish massage class, yoga, conference calls, editorial deadlines and living in a third language all co-habitate in the same mental space. It just doesn’t. And, it’s asinine to pretend that it does.
The problem in the world today is that we only see the final product - the amazing movie, the super-efficient vacuum cleaner, the vogue theory. What we don’t see is the deeper story of how these innovations emerge. The tales we tell about creativity overlook this, too. We think of Archimedes shouting “eureka” or Newton being hit on the head by the apple and instantaneously inventing the theory of gravity. But these stories are pure fiction. They get the direction of creativity the wrong way around.
I have a friend who is unhappy with his life — being in debt, lonely, with a job he doesn’t like, in a town he doesn’t like.
There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea. Dismissing an idea is so easy because it doesn’t involve any work. You can scoff at it. You can ignore it. You can puff some smoke at it. That’s easy. The hard thing to do is protect it, think about it, let it marinate, explore it, riff on it, and try it. The right idea could start out life as the wrong idea.
So I always ask the question: What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? Well it’s so amazing as the result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say ‘Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers’ But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way! Another person says ‘Well I’d like to live an out-of-door’s life and ride horses.’ I said ‘You wanna teach in a riding school?’
I wrote the above list because I genuinely wanted to see if the experiences I’ve been through have been sufficiently fulfilling, if the decisions I’ve made over the years have been worth it overall. Travel itself does not equal automatic happiness. It’s what those experiences mean to each of us, how they match with what we hoped to gain from life.
This is a talk about what happens when a culture is driven by the need for money to make more money.
Daydreaming has a bad reputation, but neuroscientists are beginning to realise that a wandering mind is not only typical – it might be beneficial.
Is a nation’s prosperity defined solely by its GDP? Prosperity is more than just the accumulation of material wealth, it is also the joy of everyday life and the prospect of an even better life in the future. This is true for individuals as well as nations. The Prosperity Index is the only global measurement of prosperity based on both income and wellbeing. It is the most comprehensive tool of its kind and is the definitive measure of global progress.
It wasn’t overly surprising, really, to learn from two recent psychology studies that being “on call” is stressful, exhausting and dampens your mood. The tribulations of sleep-deprived junior doctors are legendary, while zero-hours contracts and unpredictable work schedules are subjects of controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. But there are plenty of things wrong with those kinds of jobs: the sleep disruption of shift work; the family disruption of irregular hours; low pay.
The paradox of the American Dream: The best cities to get ahead are often the most expensive places to live, and the most affordable places to live can be the worst cities to get ahead.
I always have this problem of feeling inadequate. I’m a junior CS student at a decent but not great school. Some of my friends go to Stanford or UT Austin and have already interned with multiple top companies, while I haven’t accomplished anything of significance… I’m really impatient to achieve big things. It’s like I need to in order to justify my existence. How do I transition to a healthier state of mind and stop feeling worthless?
In a new model of living, residents will have their own “microunits” built around a shared living space for cooking, eating and hanging out.
Part of the problem seems to be that nobody these days is content to merely put their dent in the universe. No, they have to fucking own the universe. It’s not enough to be in the market, they have to dominate it. It’s not enough to serve customers, they have to capture them.
The data are the latest to show that while family structure seems to have permanently changed, public policy, workplace structure and mores have not seemed to adjust to a norm in which both parents work.
What I want to focus on here is the “very nice home” aspect of living like a foreign ambassador — and how you can do that too, even if you have a modest income. The secret to making this happen is found in one word: geoarbitrage. And it’s far more interesting than it sounds…
June 12, 2015, was my last day as a programmer for a Bay Area tech company. I gave them four years of my life, making their website faster and making fellow developers’ jobs easier. I left knowing I don’t want to get another job in tech. I don’t want another job at all.
The later Nobel laureate James Buchanan used to advise his graduate students: “keep your ass in the chair”. Woody Allen claimed that “80% of success is showing up.” And Gary Player used to say: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Some recent experiments show they are right.
In April of 1958, Hunter S. Thompson was 22 years old when he wrote this letter to his friend Hume Logan in response to a request for life advice. Thompson’s letter, found in Letters of Note, offers some of the most thoughtful and profound advice I’ve ever come across.
We still haven’t realized of something extraordinary that is happening. A few months ago, I freed myself from society, I’ve released myself from attachments I had and fear that locked me to the system. And since then, I started seeing the world from a different perspective. The perspective that everything is changing and most of us have not even realized that. Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll list the reasons that take me to believe this.
In January, I’m going to wander from college to college begging the soon-to-graduate to apply for jobs at Big Nerd Ranch. Several of the most promising will tell me something like, “I’m starting a company with a friend. It is like Instagram for pet owners.” This post is about why starting a company is just dumb. And I know: I started a successful company.
Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.
These days, screen-addicted Americans are more stressed out and distracted than ever. And nope, there’s no app for that. But there is a radically simple remedy: get outside. Florence Williams travels to the deep woods of Japan, where researchers are backing up the surprising theory that nature can lower your blood pressure, fight off depression, beat back stress.
The vagabond ecosystem is changing thanks to cellphones, Wi-Fi, Craigslist and Google Maps.
I had this epiphany at the beginning of September: This thing that I’m doing? This series of choices I make every day? It isn’t working. I don’t like the way I feel, I don’t like the way I look, I don’t like the things I’m doing. Things need to change. So I took a long, hard, serious look at myself, and concluded that some things needed to change.
Most people won’t. But every once in a while someone puts themselves out there. Makes the leap. Faces rejection or failure or worse. And comes out the other side. Better. Changed. Bolder. Most people won’t. Which means those that do change everything.
Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22, once was at a party in the Hamptons. A guy came over to him and pointed at a young, 25 year old standing in the party who worked for a big hedge fund. Heller’s “friend” said to him, “see that guy over there? He made more money last year then you will ever make with all of your books combined.” Joseph Heller said, “Maybe so. But I have one thing that man will never have.” His friend was skeptical. “Oh yeah, what?” Heller said, “Enough.”
Even the most diligent of us has loose ends we can tie up: unnecessary costs, insurance, emergency preparedness, and so on. I’m no different. I’m pretty responsible, but I’m not perfect. So I built a list of things I can do in an afternoon to get my shit together. This isn’t about eliminating risk from our lives. It’s about spending just a little time to build healthy buffer and reduce the risk of problems disrupting our lives down the road.
From jeans to dating partners and TV subscriptions to schools, we think the more choices we have the better. But too many options create anxiety and leave us less satisfied. Could one answer lie in a return to the state monopolies of old?
Reflections on the rewards of seeking out what magnifies your spirit.
Commuting, for those of us who must do it every day, is generally not an experience to be relished. The hours lost in a useless limbo travelling to the workplace and back, day in, day out, are not generally ones that are well-spent or enjoyable.
I bet so many reading this are not happy because they aren’t getting what they want in life; they are expecting it too quickly and want all their dreams to come true today. But they fail to comprehend what actually goes into achieving that. Most of the time, their goals are coming at the expense of Netflix or video games. Not money. Actual time. You need to put in the time and actual work.
This might sound familiar to a lot of people. We just accept this as a fact of life. Your work eats into the rest of your life, you have to structure everything else around it. Everything else goes into the ‘gaps’; weekends or what you have left of your evening during the week. But sometimes work even eats into that… But it doesn’t need to be this way. I love my work, and my life outside of work: why should the one detract from the other?
You realize that it’s not about hitting a goal weight, or lifting a weight. It’s about being able to wait. Waiting, being patient, and trusting that life will slowly inch along and things will eventually get better. After all, change takes time. But time is all it takes.
I’ve been at zero a few times, come back a few times, and done it over and over. I’ve started entire new careers. People who knew me then, don’t me now. And so on. I’ve had to change careers 15 times. Sometimes because my interests changed. Sometimes because all bridges have been burnt beyond recognition, sometimes because I desperately needed money. And sometimes just because I hated everyone in my old career or they hated me. Sometimes because I fell in love. Love is a map that changes. There’s other ways to reinvent yourself. Take what I say with a grain of salt. This is what worked for me.
At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ‘em free.
Last year, my boyfriend Laurence and I gave up our jobs to go in search of an alternative way to live. I’m from London but had been living in Stockholm for four years, teaching textiles. I had a permanent job, my place was comfortable and warm, and I lived by the sea. But something about my life was unfulfilling. I felt that working full-time took up too much of my mental energy, and I was eager to discover if I could feel happier with less structure and more freedom.
When you’re alone in a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, the simplest question becomes the most complicated: How do you fill a day?
Money is an attempt to buy time, but it rarely is able to buy any of the above. When we don’t have time we use money to try to get us to the secret door on time, or we use it avoid needing to know the real prices, or we use money to have someone explain to us what is really going on. Money can get us close, but not all the way.
Meaning comes from the pursuit of more complex things than happiness.
As Americans enjoy an extra day away from the office over the long Labor Day weekend, many will reflect on the end of a summer when, once again, they took far fewer days of vacation than workers in other countries.
As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality requires much practice. And while it is taught to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and yes, government-trained assassins, it’s an important skill for civilians to learn as well. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you and your loved ones safe.
Choose to be good with your life without comparing it to anyone else’s — which is hard, but necessary. It’s never apples to apples. Since you’re never seeing their whole story, it’s more like apples to elephants.
Among our most toxic symbol-as-reality tricks springs from the concept, use, and pursuit of money: “But this ingrained and archaic confusion of money with wealth is now the main reason we are not going ahead full tilt with the development of our technological genius for the production of more than adequate food, clothing, housing, and utilities for every person on earth.”
Ben Horowitz is the cofounder of a16z, one of the most successful VCs in the USA. In May 2015 he gave an inspiring commencement speech at Columbia University. The speech had three powerful conclusions: 1. Think for yourself; 2. Do not follow your passion; 3. You live in the age of opportunities.
More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer — who himself has three or four “origins” — meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.
As an industry, we are falling short of our potential. We could be accomplishing more, and we could be providing a better life for all of the people who work in technology. If you’re going to devote the best years of your life to work, do so intentionally. You can do great things AND live your life well. You can have it all, and science says you should.
My life sucked when I was fired from a job and lost my home and got a divorce and my mom stopped talking to me. It sucked when I broke up with another woman I really liked because I was afraid she wouldn’t like me if I went broke… It’s always going to suck. But occasionally it’s punctuated by moments of un-suckness. It’s my fault when things go bad. Blaming is draining.
While on vacation in distant locales, people often find that time moves quite differently than in the places they’re used to. In the tropics, we settle into the grooves of “island time” and relax thanks to a more leisurely rhythm. A trip to a big city can leave us exhilarated but also drained by the energetic whir of life there.
Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.
I came to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born — that the people I admired had achieved an unfakeable inner virtue, built slowly from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments. If we wanted to be gimmicky, we could say these accomplishments amounted to a moral bucket list, the experiences one should have on the way toward the richest possible inner life. Here, quickly, are some of them.
Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say “lives,” I do not mean exists, nor “muddles through.” Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the “great spending departments” of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be? Which of us is quite sure that his fine suit is not surmounted by a shameful hat, or that in attending to the crockery he has forgotten the quality of the food? Which of us is not saying to himself—which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: “I shall alter that when I have a little more time”?
We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is. It is the realisation of this profound and neglected truth (which, by the way, I have not discovered) that has led me to the minute practical examination of daily time-expenditure.
CNN’s coolest globe-trotter on punctuality, omelets, and how vanity got him clean.
The anarchist author, coiner of the phrase ‘We are the 99%’, talks to Stuart Jeffries about ‘bullshit jobs’, our rule-bound lives and the importance of play.
But for all the rah-rah-rah, there are serious, under-discussed challenges with an idiosyncratic, comparison-destroying life.
Not happy with your professional or personal life? If that’s the case, the problem isn’t your upbringing, or a lack of opportunities, or bad luck, or the result of other people holding you back. The problem is you. If our lives suck, we’re letting it happen. Maybe the problem lies in what we believe – and in what we do.