What's Really, Really Important

Want a formula for figuring out what's truly important? We all do. Here's what we do since there isn't one.

5 Steps to Optimal Illusion

Self-deceptively, most people consider themselves more realistic than average and consider it a virtue to only want the truth. Fact is, none of us do. It's more realistic to admit you're not always realistic. Here's a guess at the path to optimal illusion, kidding ourselves where it helps, not where it hurts.

Be A Selectrician, Wiring Yourself For Sound Growth

We are creatures of our environments. Do what you can to wire up your environment so it grows you in the directions you want to grow.

Mistat: How the other guy becomes the one who started it

It's popularly understood that game theory suggests that tit for tat is a common, appropriate strategy. If you're attacked, attack back. But this simple version of game theory overlooks a human problem with tit for tat: Often an attack is ambiguous. We mistake an innocuous move as an attack and tat when we haven't been titted.

11 Reasons: How to Explain People's Frustrating Behavior

We're notoriously good at rationalizing our behavior and criticizing the behavior of others, and we can't override this tendency simply by deciding to be more even-handed. Here's an alternative: Inventory 11 factors that influence what we all do.

How to Decide Who’s a Conversational Bully

Debating with people who are closed-minded and just out to win is a waste of time. But quickly and falsely accusing our opponents of just being out to win is its own kind of closed-mindedness. Here are some simple tips for deciding who is just out to win.

The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge is knowing; Wisdom is wondering still. Those who stay wise have high Returns On Divestment, experience getting a good payoff from changing their minds.

Teasing: Seven Myths You'll Be Relieved To Debunk

"Touchy touchy. You're being too sensitive!" "No I'm not. You're just being incredibly insensitive." Here's a quick guide to deciding who is being hypersensitive and who is being insensitive.

How People Quit Being High Maintenance

Holding our heads high is good an necessary, but higher than other heads is exhausting both for us and the people who have to deal with us. Here's an alternative.

Do Friends Shame You For Not Believing Them?

We have freedom of speech, but we have to earn our audience and credibility. The sooner we realize this, the freer we become and the more responsibility we take for getting heard and winning hearts and minds.

Get Robust, Because Resilience Is Too Little Too Late

Resilience is the ability to recover your cool quickly. Robustness is keeping your cool no matter what. James Bond is robust. You don't see him recovering his cool after a fight. He keeps his cool in the fight. Here are 14 quick strategies for cultivating your robustness, so you can stand up for yourself invulnerably.

A Surprising Key To Sustainable Relationship

We often get frustrated that our partners don't take responsibility for changing an annoying behavior. Their unwillingness to change feels like a violation of give and take. Paradoxically, we can often get more give and take if we stop holding out for them to change and instead change our way of interacting with them so we're fine regardless of whether they change.

Does Yoga Give You Mental Agility, and If Not, What Would?

Yoga provides great physical agility but not great mental agility. Still, it is a great model for how to cultivate mental agility.

5 Quick and Easy Bull Sandwich Recipes

For years, I've been taking notes on the moves we all can make (me included) to eliminate all doubt about our opinions no matter what they are. Lately, I've begun presenting them humorously as recipes for BS sandwiches. Here are five.

The Trouble With Spirituality

Spirit, by definition is an immaterial goal-oriented cause of material effects. Anyone can claim its on their side. The go-to ghost who sides with you is a nice friend to have but lousy friend for your opponents to have. Time to give up this go-to ghost and yet it isn't easy. Even most scientists rely on them.

Calmfidence: The Secret to True Resilience

Make the best of your worst-case scenarios.

How To Not Be A Jerk In A Jerk Infested World

To get ahead without getting mean, master three arts, rhetoric, critical thinking and applying both even-handedly.

Too Big For Suddenly Bigger Britches

If you have been down a while and suddenly see an opening to climb out of your rut it can breed delusions of grandeur. You can overshoot, going from "less than" to "more than" rather than "equal to" with respect to others.

Everyday Bipolar Disorder and Order

We're all a little bipolar, motivated in opposite directions. Healthier, more trustworthy people own their ambivalences. Here are some tips on how to do it.

A Breakthrough On The Physical Science Of The Soul

We've been in the dark so damn long we don't notice. We know that living striving selves are real but have no idea how they emerged in a universe that didn't start with them. Without a bridge from matter to mattering we hop between two separate realities, cause and effect, and means to ends. Science is now finally primed to bridge the gap.

The Said Then Done Fallacy

We tend to think we can change ourselves by embracing words of wisdom. We don't notice that embracing is easy; living the words of wisdom is hard and takes ongoing practice. And we often embrace wisdom instead of trying to live by it, the words substituting for deeds.

Why Some People (Maybe Even Us) Think They're So Special

Sociopaths are rare. Passive exploitives are everywhere, maybe in your own home, even in your own bed.

Be Intolerant Of Intolerance!

A lot of popular advice is hypocritical. We shouldn't reject it though. We should embrace it as exposing the moral dilemmas we all really deal with.

Hopelesse Oblige: A New Moral Obligation

Lots of people climb to power to make the world a better place, but in power just seek more power. Hopelesse Oblige is the obligation to channel your power into more honest curiosity. We owe it to society to get off our soft assumptions and stop saying what feels good but what is good and true. Because in tough times fewer can afford to be that honest.

The Half Life Pledge: Being Realistic Before It's Too Late.

Are you going to be honest or nice? Here's the argument for honest.

Self-help, Self-love, Selfie: What Is a Self Anyway?

We care about our selves a whole lot, and yet for all that care, we're fuzzy and tangled about what a self is. Here's an inventory of the fuzz and my best guess at how to untangle it.

What the World Needs Now

We don't necessarily get the government we deserve but we do get only as good a government as we're educationally prepared to elect. Leaders realized this in the Renaissance and so developed a curriculum aimed at creating a sane, savvy citizenry. Here's an idea about updating it for modern times.

Time Chauvinism, Time Blindness and Moral Chauvinism

"What a piece of work is man," said Shakespeare, "how noble in reason." True, but we're also a piece of work, earth's problem child. We are genius and fools; idiot savants. I'm an hopeful cynic. I trying to pin down what makes us stupid--me included, hopeful that maybe we can overcome it in time to save ourselves. This week I'm thinking about time and moral chauvinism.

An Xmas Reflection On Christ, Afterlives And Why We Care

It took this 58 year old author his whole life to figure out that fear of death is really four fears blurred into one. Here, I deal rationally with each separately. Maybe not your holiday nog of choice, but it does pertain to the season when many celebrate the guy who gained popularity first, not as a prince of peace but a path to the afterlife.

Penis Size, IQ and Moral Politics

Do we really want to know how we measure up? Not so much.