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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Dr John L. Collins Biography

I highly recommend reading this wonderful biography before you read the interview with Dr John L. Collins. It’s full of insights into the rich life experiences of a beautiful mind. This page is only available for Ness Labs members.  Learn more about the membership or join now.

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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The optionality fallacy

We are obsessed with optionality. Not sure what to do with your life? Most people will tell you to get a degree. Not quite sure what to do with this degree? Go to grad school. Still not quite sure? Get a consulting role at a big firm so you can decide what kind of job …

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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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Don’t pin the butterfly: not all hobbies need to become hustles

A couple of years ago, I got really interested in pu’er tea—a kind of fermented tea produced in China—which can sell for thousands of dollars. I tried some, liked it, read about its history, and then… My mind started racing: why is it so hard to buy pu’er tea in Europe? Maybe I could import …

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