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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How Wrong Ideas about Knowledge Can Ruin Decisions

Let’s do a quiz! What do these things have in common? My happiness level; The job performance of a knowledge worker; The societal engagement of young people; How democratic a country is. Well? ‘Things’ like happiness, job performance, democracy, and societal engagement don’t exist in a concrete sense. You can’t see or touch a happiness-particle or a democracy-atom. The things […]

Human Nature Is Created, Not Discovered

Barry Schwartz is one of the most interesting thinkers of our time. He is most famous for his work on The Paradox of Choice.Where conventional wisdom tells us that more possibilities is better, Schwartz makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today’s western world is actually making us worse off. Infinite choice is paralyzing, Schwartz argues, and exhausting to […]

The Protestant Work Dilemma: Why We Won’t Stop

A once-influential group of Christians called Calvinists convinced many that it was predestined where you’d spend your Afterlife. Heaven or hell, your fate was already determined. Nothing you could do. So naturally, they set out to figure out who the elect were. And according to a then-accepted piece of reasoning, if one managed to accumulate tons of […]

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 […]

How To Lose Your Mind: A New Perspective On Flow

I’ve crafted my ideal routine. Every morning, six days a week, I go to the library to execute the studying routine and 4 hours later that felt like 30 minutes come out with dissertation progress. Honestly, I look forward to doing that work. Reading, making connections, considering arguments, structuring information — I love it. It feels good. There’s nothing on my mind. […]

The Uncomfortable Distinction That Is Destroying My Generation

“It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I just don’t care.” — PeterGibbons, Office Space If you live in the West, you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing. One utters “I’m fine” in a neutral tone, then slightly raises one’s chin, puts forward […]