Hopium

Hope is not a strategy. Hope is also a selfish emotion — we look it to bolster our well-being. Hope is convenient. It’s the nearest dopamine hit in a crowd of external placebos. But hope is sometimes all we got. It never capitulates. Good things take time and a lot of practice. Just don’t expect […]

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Avoid the suck

The carrot dangles, tempting a response. But the incentive is not always worthy. What we need more is a beautiful constraint, to cease ourselves from the pursuit of vices. To follow unconsciously is another person’s business opportunity. Once we investigate the soul, the rest follows, and we can avoid the trap. art via giphy

The mind’s sense-door

There’s always a mismatch, between the fresh coffee and the taste, between the selfie and the mirror, and between the practice and the work. Our emotions and senses often dupe our realities. We expect to be satisfied up to the point of experience. But the war between expectation and matter simmers down to ambivalence. The […]

Cold water courage

The quickest way to get used to cold water is to dive right in. The slowest and more painful way to get used to cold water is to go in gradually, dipping in each body part until it warms up. Most people take the gradual approach because they’re scared. As a result, they’re most likely […]

A coherent me

Stuck and predictable. We stop beating the heart to our own drum. Instead of chasing our dreams, we ride the coattails of others. We become a cog that seeks to please rather than to push. How we align our attention, to the duty or to the clusters of individual freedom, is what determines our self-worth. […]

Confronting reality 👀

Goal setting is like game setting. You start at level 1 and graduate into unforeseen directions. If you’re lucky, you’ll ping-pong forward, making leaps and bounds. But more often than not, declaring your ambitions acts as a compass, guiding you with mere suggestions on how to proceed. The lighthouse may tease what’s ahead yet what remains […]

Medicating off the placebo

If you want to instantly feel better, step into a hospital. The placebo works every time. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Hospitals can make the healthy feel a bit ill. Does anyone like hanging out in hospitals? Placebo is a mere expectation. It helps only because we think it helps. But that psychological boon could […]

The sharing virus

The biggest threat to a virus is its own exhaustion. It wants to be said, repeated, and spread until it cements into a meme. Words, ideas, and apps are all types of viruses. Pretty much anything that spreads. Most are benign of course but perhaps none is more pervasive and self-inflicted than the sickness of […]

How complaining affects the brain

“Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses, just do the best you can do,” said UCLA coach John Wooden. It turns out coach was on to something. Recent studies show that complaining every day changes the structure of the brain. Harmful behaviors such as complaining, if allowed to loop within the brain continually, will inevitably […]

When sharing is not so self-caring

Social media is a world where everyone tries to out self-promote each other and in doing so, stretch their lives further from reality. Even the destinations — whether it be a restaurant, hotel resort, or kayaking trip — want to make their experiences more Instagrammable. Sharing has commoditized life, turning us into an avalanche of […]

What holds attention determines distraction

Even checked distractions will lead you to distraction. What holds attention determines distraction.  This very day I have been repeating over and over to myself a verbal jingle whose mawkish silliness was the secret of its haunting power. I loathed yet could not banish it.  What holds attention determines action. William James, The Principles of Psychology Was […]

A mind virus

People like to gravitate toward solutions. They’d rather think they know something than cope with all the anxiety surrounding the mysterious present. Truth is a mental implantation. In reality, we just believe the story we tell ourselves. Conversely, thinking is a ‘dialogue between the two me’s.’ The curious mind acts like inserting graphite into a […]

The courage to believe

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Faith drives action. Faith drives results. Without faith, nothing works. Indifference and pessimism are attractive because they’re the easiest to obtain, the most accessible to deploy and practice. “Ask yourself this: would your childhood self be proud of you, or embarrassed?” — Julien Smith, The Flinch Pursuing […]