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 Andy Won The Game Of Life

The Shawshank Redemption is the most gripping film I’ve ever seen. It tells the story of an innocent man’s (Andy) hell in prison, his unusual friendship with an inmate and prison contraband smuggler serving a life sentence (Red), the former’s miraculous escape and the friends’ reunion as free men. My favorite scene is a very short one. It features Andy in the prison […]

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 […]

You Are Not A Product

When some teacher, a long time ago, during an undergrad seminar in goal setting, let me in on the secret that I had a “personal brand”, I was sold. Spending my time building, crafting, improving my self in a goal-directed project-like way was something I’d never considered before. Referring to self-presentation as “branding” is apt. It underlies what the Millennial […]

I’m Losing My Battle With Shame

No. This couldn’t be true. I was watching Brene Brown’s second TED-talk last week. She’s the ‘vulnerability researcher’ whose first TED-talk went so viral that random people now yell at her — “VULNERABILITY TED! VUL-NE-RA-BILITY TED!” — in the supermarket. In her follow-up presentation, she tells us about two self-talk patterns shame drives. The first: “You’re not good enough.” This is not a remark about […]

I Didn’t Know I Loved 40 Things About Myself

This Thursday, Niklas Göke had the courage to describe 40 things he loves about himself. An admirable act of vulnerability and audacity. If you think it’s a rather arrogant thing to do, you’re missing the point of the exercise. You see, like many including myself (thank you, Jon Brosio and Erika Chaudhary), Nik got tagged in the newest chain post making the […]

What If Unhappiness Contains The Secret To Happiness?

Maybe we should just give up the pursuit of happiness. When you go for it head-on, you will miss it. As the 19th-century philosopherJohn Stuart Mill wrote about his existential crisis: “Those only are happy (I thought) who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on […]

The Weirdness Of Aging

As the days get shorter, an urge to reflect seems to beget all of us. Caught under this end-of-year spell, it dawned on me that I have entered the second half of my twenties and am making a little bit of money for the first time. Indeed, I feel like I’m — wait for it — becoming an ‘adult’, […]

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 […]

10 Things That Might Surprise You About Me

Usually, I want to write things that create value. What I’m sharing today has no such aim. I was tagged by James Jordan in his post ‘10 things about me’. He challenged me to write a similar article. I was hesitant because I seek to produce essays that inspire others to think deeper and ‘10 things about […]