Say “I Don’t Know” More Often

Most topics are ones where either we hardly know anything or where we think know so much that we are very confident. Funny thing: regardless of the topic of discussion— whether we are uninformed or knowledgeable on it — when someone asks for our view, most of us can’t resist the urge. Many of us, my past […]

This Is Water: Overcoming Bias and How to Think Real Good

Once upon a time, there used to be a great and acrimonious debate in philosophy about whether people had “mental imagery” — whether or not people actually see a little picture of an elephant when they think about an elephant. Is “imagination” merely a way of speaking or a real phenomenon? Upon reading this, my intuition shouted: […]

Yes, Your Feelings Are Fooling You

So I was lying in bed, half-naked in my underwear, studying the physician Hans Rosling’s book Factfulnesswhen a biting passage made me want to jump out of bed and shout from the rooftops. Rosling, by the way, is the guy from the famous colorful bubble charts. The statistician who proved most of us walk around with […]

Learn to Express, Not Impress

Leo Tolstoy famously observed it about families, but all happy individuals, too, are alike; each unhappy individual is, also, unhappy in its own way. We live in a time were, using Instagram, Facebook and whatnot, many (young) people curate their lives: we present ourselves to the world as how we want to be seen. And not as how we are. Of course, […]

The Empowerment Paradox: Why Mastery Won’t Set Us Free

If I increase my ability to reach my goals, that’s a good thing, right? Not always. There’s a surprising way in which empowerment can come full circle and become powerlessness. How to achieve a goal Let’s see getting what you want as a two-step process: Discover what the cause-effect relationships that govern reality are Figure out how to set theright cause-effect […]

Sleepwalking Through Life

People say we live in bubbles and echo-chambers and wait I thought echoes were about babies. I don’t think that’s true (I’m not sure about the babies part). There’s more confrontation with those characters who have other opinions than ever. If you don’t buy it, just ask your grandmother how many non-Christians, or non-Muslims, or […]

Self-Improvement Doesn’t Have An End, It Is The End

I like Mark Manson. Apart from Wait But Why, at which Tim Urban never posts anything anymore anyway, he’s the only blogger whose new articles I check out immediately. And his paperback Models — which sounds like a dating manual but is so much more than that — is probably the best self-help book I’ve read. I used to agree with him that self-improvement is […]

The Rationalist’s Mistake: How (Not) To Miss The Extraordinary

I have always had a tight bond with reason. This is an intimate part of my identity, and for the most part, it has led me in the right direction. When I was young, for example, I dreamt of being like Sherlock Holmes. Extremely rational and not contaminated with these inconvenient things called feelings: “All […]

You Cannot Talk About Self-Improvement Without Talking About Values

There’s a question that has been on my mind a lot lately: What difference does self-improvement make? In what way(s) does engaging in self-improvement make my days and life go different compared to the life of someone who doesn’t bother? To paint a picture, let’s look at Joe. Joe’s routine is rather stable: He goes to […]

Philosophy of Consciousness: Why You Are Not Stronger Than Your Environment

A lot of us overestimate our psychological independence, and I am no exception. Surely, I can flourish anywhere, can’t I? Making friends is not that hard — and really, how different is the daily grind going to be whether me, my laptop and my brain do their thing in The Netherlands, Budapest, or anywhere else? There is […]