Find a Reason You’re Not Special

The author Steven Pressfield was once asked what it felt like to sell all those books. His answer was swift. “I haven’t sold that many books,” he said, “Not nearly as many as someone like Laura Hillenbrand.” It should be said that Pressfield wasn’t comparing himself to other people or particularly conscious of some sort of official … Continued

Nothing Goes As Planned

The line from Cicero was that “to philosophize is to learn how to die.” It’s important and it’s true. This is what philosophers, particularly the ancient ones, thought about most. Seneca, for his part, talked endlessly about the shortness of life and the inevitability of death. He studied Socrates and held the man’s brave end up … Continued

Make Good On Your Promise

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in America and it happens to fall, this year, on the actual birthday of that great man. It’s worth taking a minute today to consider one particularly brilliant and inspiring part from his approach to civil rights. What Martin Luther King didn’t do in the 1950s and … Continued

We Will All Be Snapped Off

There’s a haunting series of the last known photos of celebrities. You can see Prince getting in an SUV hours before he overdosed on fentanyl in an elevator. You can see Michael Jackson rehearsing for a tour he would never go on. You can see John Lennon signing an autograph for the fan that murdered him. You can see … Continued

Don’t Laugh At Them, Review

In the last few weeks, the state of Oregon gave its citizens an important right: The right to pump their own gas. It’s pretty funny on a number of levels: Funny because that’s a basic right that should have never been taken away in the first place, funny because now many residents in Oregon are … Continued

The Last Time You Were Sick

Think about the last time you were sick. Maybe it was food poisoning. Or the flu. Or a nasty bug that just knocked you on your ass. As you laid there, soaked in your own sweat, or as you made your way back to the bathroom to empty the contents of your stomach once again, … Continued

Life on Repeat

There is a picture of Jay Z standing on a street corner in the year 1939. It appears that Conan O’Brien fought for the Union army in the Civil War. There is a picture of Matt Damon from 1961. Peter Dinklage apparently spent time as court jester for Philip IV of Spain in 1645. We’ve talked about how the Stoics believed … Continued

How Good Do You Want To Be?

Nick Saban, the coach at Alabama, has a question he asks: How good do you want to be? That is: What is a player or a coach willing to demand of themselves? What mark are they aiming for—pretty good, really good, the best? It’s interesting, sometimes reporters and fans will question why Saban seems unhappy on … Continued

Imagine It Happening To Someone Else

When something frustrating happens to you today—a flight gets cancelled, a pen breaks and spills on your shirt, you get jostled by the crowd, painfully, on the subway—and you feel that immediate, instinctive anger rising up, just stop. Try this: Think about it happening to someone else. Imagine the thing that happened to you, happening … Continued