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. […]

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 […]

Why Truth Doesn’t Change People’s Minds (and What Does)

Today, everyone can get more information than ever. Paradoxically, this has made the truth less — not more — accessible. As ‘information’ became ideological, ‘the facts’ can no longer referee disagreements but are themselves contested. It’s easier than ever before for someone to live in a world built of his own ‘facts’. You might say: what happened to us? Why do facts not […]

The Complete Guide to Effective Reading

Learning is a heavily misunderstood concept. As a paradigm example of deep work, we understand that, when reading, directing your full attention to the material at hand is essential. Graspingcomplex information is hard. But this is only half the battle. After some string of words hits your retina and has made its way to your brain, you’re not done. In a cruel irony, these hours […]

The Best Way to Spend Bad Days

“It’s all so pointless,” the voice was telling me over and over. Depression has a life of its own. It was making its bad-day morning routes, delivering its message to every cell in my brain. Soon I would feel it everywhere. Lying in my bed, on my back, I realized: today was a shitty day. I briskly turned on my right side. It was a desperate attempt to go […]

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 […]

Science And The Myth Of Being Worthy

Traditional morality has it backwards. In a cruel way. It features this prevalent idea that happiness requires upfront payment. Both chronologically and morally, enjoyment comes after work. First toil, then fun. Suffer. Then laugh. Monks hitting themselves and locking themselves in rooms for days and not eating or even speaking for years on end to deserve bliss […]

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 […]

How To Really Win The Afternoon

2PM is too early to go home, isn’t it? A lot — and I mean, a lot — has been said about morning routines. I’ve been told by every self-improvement writer and their mothers to get up earlier and eat a protein-rich breakfast and to not break the fast and also kale smoothies. My view is that it’s largely smoke and mirrors because […]