Scaling down: on seeking fewer goals, relationships, and experiences

We have heard it so many times: quality matters more than quantity. Yet, we struggle to apply the adage. We try to earn as much money as possible; to visit many places; to make lots of friends; to read loads of books. In many areas of our lives, quantity seems to trump quality. Thanks to …

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Selective ignorance: cultivating intentional knowledge in a chaotic world

Have you ever found yourself aimlessly scrolling online, then feeling guilty about the wasted time? Twelve years ago, the Webster’s New World Dictionary—which is the official dictionary used by the Associated Press and many leading newspapers such as the New York Times—selected “selective ignorance” as a candidate for the word of the year. (it lost …

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Personal values: how knowing yourself can guide your actions

Ask anyone their opinion on one of the many political and ethical divides of the moment, and you will receive a strong opinion as to what “ought” to be. While people tend to appeal to logic to justify their stance, many of these positions are actually guided by their personal values. Our values are our …

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The only numbers that matter

Nowadays, virtually anything can be tracked and measured. Smartwatches include a heart rate monitor, can count your steps, and record your sleep patterns. Apps let you log your meals, your fasting zones, your weight, and your calorie expenditure. A timer on your computer can track your productivity. As Gary Wolf, the co-founder of Quantified Self …

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Are we too busy to enjoy life?

“How are things?” asked a friend. “It’s busy, but I’ll take some time to relax when things ease up,” I replied. I recently caught myself giving a variation of this answer every time I was asked how I was doing. “So much work, but hopefully it will be better next week.” Being busy all the …

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Embracing the discomfort of self-reflection with Buster Benson

Welcome to the first edition of Mindful Makers, an interview series where we ask highly creative people how they manage to do great things while taking care of their mental health. The first guest is Buster Benson, writer, entrepreneur, thinker, and overall wonderful human being. It’s a bit of a special interview, because I’ve known …

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Motivation beyond money

Why do you get up in the morning? What drives you to work, create, and connect with people? Many traditional models of motivation argue human beings are mostly driven by rewards—whether financial, material, or social—or by fear of punishment. At work, money is often used as a productivity driver. But author Daniel Pink suggests a …

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The ambition trilemma: freedom, stability, wealth

Despite my existential doubts, I have always considered myself a fairly ambitious person. Of course, between my education by two driven parents—you don’t go from cleaning lady to director without a bit of ambition—and a potential but still elusive ambition gene, I don’t have anything to brag about. But, for some reason, since I was …

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