Cornering a Slippery Child

After decades with an inherently slippery child, I was able to distill his many excuses to three. If I could go back, here's how I would have tried to block each of them.

Bring Back Confession

It's useful to calmly inventory your bad habits, not that they're going to change overnight.

Unpacked, the Serenity Prayer is an Instant Wisdom Upgrade

Decades studying decision-making and I keep coming back to the serenity prayer. Unpack it for a wealth of wisdom.

CEOsiopaths, the Fanatic Formula, and Why We’re in This Mess

Are we playing or replacing the game? In politics, that's a hard distinction to keep straight. The Fanatic Formula and CEOsiopathy help explain why.

Wisdom Made as Simple as Possible, No Simpler

The Golden Rule and other "Always do X" rules are one-sided half-truths posing as whole truths. Learn to see through them for greater wisdom and peace of mind.

Not All Sensitivity and Insensitivity Is Indulgent

The right acts like all sensitivity is indulgent. The left acts like all insensitivity is indulgent. For give and take to prevail, that's got to change.

Living By Simple Moral Codes Makes Us Worse, Not Better

Always be honest, never dishonest, kind, never unkind, open, never closed. We can't live by such always-principles and we pay a big price for pretending we can.

Wonder Woman and Wondering

Everyone is motivated by inspirational movies. This should cause us to wonder more about their lessons, like believing in yourself or that love is the answer.

How to Keep Disagreements from Becoming Fights

Supreening: posturing or preening like you're the supreme judge deciding who's right—you or your opposition.

Beliefs: Twelve Myths You'll Be Relieved to Debunk

Getting realistic about beliefs can go a long way toward peace of mind and better decision-making.

Getting Straight About Love and Hate

We say we have love, not hate, in our hearts. It's not that simple.

Comedy as Church

Comedy, like art or religion can be a chance for us to commune together in our unrequitable quest for relief from the messiness of life.

The Root of All Evil

Doubt is excruciating. No wonder most if not all of us find alluring some simple permanent formula that supposedly alleviates it once and for all.

How to Protect Yourself Against Pop Inspirational “wisdom"

Nothing stunts our learning of practical wisdom like embracing half-wit wisdom masquerading as whole, universal wisdom.

The Deep Roots of Left vs. Right

The fundamental distinction in politics as in life is between constraint and freedom. We need both.

How Authoritarians Leaders Get Away with It

Authoritarian followers for whatever cause and however motivated, treat life as perfectly manageable with machine-like habits of thought.

Fair Contests Vs. "Fair" (Even) Outcomes

GOP antics teach key lessons about what fairness really means.

Why Aren’t People More Open-Minded? Think To-Do Lists

One of the best ways to predict behavior is to focus on how events affect people's to-do lists.

Fast Friends or Friends Fast

Clinging to old friends for fear of being stranded alone? There's another way. Get faster at turning new acquaintances into easy cozy friends.

Be Positive. Be Neutral. Which Is It?

Six practical tips for managing your loyalties and doubts, your positive certainty and your neutral receptivity, your open-mindedness and your closed-mindedness.

What’s Your Anti-Gravity Strategy?

People seek transcendence by many means. Some come bundled with belief in supernatural magic at odds with science. Scientists can do more to help resolve the tension.

Complements and Substitutes

If they have this trait, do they have that trait? We deal with such questions a lot. Understanding substitutes and complements can help us answer them well.

Why Do People Cherry-Pick Which Science They Accept?

By not explaining why anything matters, science becomes dubious enough that we can easily escape its inconvenient truths.

The Happy Healthy Pornosexual

Apparently, some can watch porn without it getting out of hand.

The High Cost of Receptivity

Don't pretend that you're exceptionally ready to change your mind.

Face-it Versus Escapist Coping Strategies

Do you reduce stress in ways that increase or decrease your peripheral vision?

How to Break Up When You Still Have to Live Together

Five simple tips for keeping it as simple as possible.

With Two Sides to Everything It’s Dangerous to Ignore One

Here's a simple trick for making decisions you won't regret.

We Are All Mojo Addicts

We all gravitate toward self-revitalizing signs of hope, and in the process, we generate social and interpersonal congestion.

Moral Incentives for Dummies

What is basic morality and what incentive system does best to promote it?