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 […]

Stop Finding Your Passion

Most people have it backwards. They think that passion precedes effort. That caring about a project comes before pouring your heart and soul into it. They’re only willing to commit if there was a prior discovery about how much they like this thing. “Offer me something I’m passionate about and I’ll show up with all of my energy, effort […]

The Fear Conspiracy: How To Unite With Anxiety

“I can’t take it anymore,” she stuttered with a broken voice, fighting to hold back her tears. It’s the beginning of my Monday-night mediation class and we’re all sharing something personal. A minute ago, I shared my wish to be kinder to myself. There’s an evil whisper in me that’s relentlessly hunting for something that I […]

The Most Important Skill You Forgot

Today, everywhere we turn, someone is trying to steal our attention. We are bombarded non-stop with attention stealing cannonballs aimed at our heads shouting “Hey look over here — you should really think about joining us!” Buy this! Vote that! Don’t vote that! Do something about this! Facebook sucks! Get active for my good cause! Jeans are so out of fashion! […]

If It Sucks, Do Something Else

I nearly cried when I had this realization: I don’t allow myself to do things solely because I enjoy them. After my Master’s, I went volunteering in Africa. My family encouraged me to keep a travel blog, so I reluctantly started one. Some months in, I discovered that I actually like to write. Later, I started blogging […]

There Are Two Ways To Think — One Doesn’t Work

Within reasonable limits, I don’t care whether my beliefs are true. Why should I? For one, in many situations, there are multiple, equally correct narratives to pick from. In those cases, you should choose the representation that works best: “You judge a model by how useful it is, not by how right it is.” — Charles Chu For example, I could tell myself and others that I deviated to Budapest because […]

When I’m Awake, I Work — And That’s A Good Thing

People keep telling me that I work so much. But when people announce this assessment to me, I’m always confused. For example, when I achieved my one-year goal in three months, many responses I got were like: “You deserve it, you’ve worked so hard for it”. That’s literally what people said to me. I didn’t get it. […]

How To Grow From Unhappiness

Whereas mankind has traditionally been concerned with the pursuit of happiness, greater wisdom would seem to lie in figuring how to beproductively unhappy. After all, misery is bound to happen to us, repeatedly. Therefore, the value of suffering fruitfully outruns the use of any Utopianquest for blissful happiness. Accordingly, the French novelist Marcel Proust (1871–1922) concurs that: “The whole art of living […]

The Difference: Living Well vs. Living Great

So many writers advertise their blog by promising ‘a better life’. On my Dutch website, I used to do the same, feeling increasingly uncomfortable about my pledge. Reading an essay and thinking about it is one thing, but changing your behavior is a whole different ballgame. I found it hard to imagine that my writings had a […]

Self-Hacking: The One Habit Separates The Successful From The Rest

My flatmates say I live like a robot. After waking up at my usual time, I take a cold shower and put on my one set of clothes (of which I own multiple copies, of course). What I eat and when I socialize, exercise, do my laundry and my groceries is similarly predetermined. And everything that’s left — studying and writing — happens according to standardized structures of place, […]