Blog

Why The World Doesn’t Want You to Succeed (and What to do About it)

Truth one: “Our days are filled with the path to future skills, tasks and commitments that we believe we can’t possibly take on. We’ve seduced ourselves into believing that we’re not born with the talent, or that the obstacles to doing the work are just too great.” —Seth Godin Truth two: “Attempting [to have a huge positive impact […]

The Dark Side of Changing Your Perspective

Neuroscientists can now identify how happiness and unhappiness are physically inscribed inside our skulls They even report the precise parts of the brain which generate positive and negative emotions. And also uncover more and more neural explanations for why particular deeds like singing and loving and following Maarten van Doorn on Medium seem to improve our mental well-being. […]

Our Real Job Is Fulfilling Our Potential

It’s always awkward when I tell people about my work schedule. On the one hand, some folks think trained monkeys work harder than I do. I tell them how a philosophy Ph.D. is hardly a full-time job for me because my mental state of being a zombie after four hours of deep work is a daily […]

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 […]

Why I Hate to Talk About What I Do

When someone asks me how I’m doing, I’ll honestly reply “Excellent!” and after I’ve returned the question and you’ve also answered affirmatively, I’ll fire a follow-up, and another, and we’ll end up talking about you, and about non-personal stuff like the weather and politics. Then it’s goodbye. “Wow, you must be such a great listener […]

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 […]

The Ultimate Explanation of the Psychology Behind the Spread of Fake News

“Crazy fairy tales have become numbingly common,” Vox’s David Roberts recently observed. We are more apt to be wrong about basic facts than at any time in the recent past. I have often been left frustrated by someone who subscribes to absurd stuff — about evolution or immigrants or Obama’s birth certificate or you name it — and proceeded to shrugs off any appeal to facts or […]

Do We Really Disagree That Much?

Paradoxically, in our post-truth era of culture wars, echo-chambers, information overload and fake news, this is considered self-evident: “Each group lives in its own echo chamber, which it believes is the “true” reality” — Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble In this essay, I argue that this is a wild exaggeration. Many people do not believe (i) their echo […]

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, […]