"Compare and contrast." It's a staple of essay questions on college final exams.
But be careful about applying it to life.
Many people make themselves unhappy by comparing themselves to others who seem better off. They think that the other people are:
Many people dismiss faith as "believing what you know isn't true." But that's wrong.
At its most helpful, faith is believing what might be true:
You can achieve bulletproof happiness.
But you need to know something first: Bulletproof vests make you look fat.
In other words, there are trade offs.
And you need to know something else: Bulletproof vests don't make you invulnerable.
In other words, ...
What's the best way to find happiness in life?
In some ways, that's a silly question. There are many ways to be happy in life. Or unhappy.
But despite individual differences, most people can find happiness in similar ways.
A lot depends on your attitude. If you try to make the best of every situation, see obstacles as ...
Posting will be intermittent for the next couple of weeks. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Check out my book Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace. Kirkus Reviews called it an "impressively nuanced analysis."
The bar patron asked the bartender, "Is life worth living?"
The bartender replied, "It depends on the liver."1
In other words, it's a judgment call.
Most of us crave simple patterns to explain life. We crave simple rules to guide our behavior. We often don't get them.
I encountered an example ...
I'm an optimistic kind of guy. I can usually find the "half full" in any glass, no matter how empty it is.
But even I get discouraged sometimes. Most often, it's because of human irrationality.
The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that "Whom the gods ...
There are three basic ways to deal with any situation:
Of course, there are lots of variations.
Is human history driven mainly by the actions of "great men"?
It's called the great man theory of history.
Of course, the problem is that word "mainly." Lots of things cause historical events. To say that a specific person was a "main" ...
Your parents lied to you. So did mine.
They told us:
"You can do anything if you make up your mind to do it."
Nope. Not true.
Don't be too hard on parents. It's a well-meaning lie. It's arguably even a justified lie. Children shouldn't prematurely limit their aspirations in ...
In 1949, the legendary American comedian Groucho Marx resigned from the Friars Club of Beverly Hills. His reason?
"I don't want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members."
A lot of people are starting to feel that way about the internet. The hate, hysteria, Twitter mobs, privacy ...
"Quitters never win, and winners never quit. But those who never win and never quit are idiots."
Don't be a quitter. But don't be an idiot, either.
The problem in many situations is to know which is which.
Contrary to Despair.com's funny ...
If you want to understand why people believe and act as they do, three ideas will get you a long way:
People want the world to make sense.
They make sense of the world in various ways, based on different assumptions and biases. They feel as if their worldview is part of who they are. If you dispute their their cherished ...
You can trust people. Honest. That's not a joke. Trust me.
But it's important to know what trust is. Then you can trust people in the right way.
A couple of analogies might help explain the point.
Suppose that you see a big rock on the grass in front of you. Based on past experience, you know at least two more things ...
It's easy to remain calm when everything is going well. But it's more important to remain calm when everything isn't going so well.
One way I'm lucky is that I have friends and family members who sometimes disagree with me about important issues. That makes me take a second look at my beliefs. It helps me see outside my own world-view ...
Human beings are social animals. To be our best selves, we need other people.
But those relationships demand work, patience, and understanding.
How can you make your relationships as happy as possible in 2019?
Think about three things: You, the other person, and the relationship itself.
The philosopher Bertrand ...
Want to create a better life in 2019?
In "Emily's Five Things," a Taiwanese television series, Emily finds a bottle at the beach. It contains a paper with an enigmatic message:
All blog posts are copyrighted by N.S. Palmer. They may be reposted as long as the author byline, URL, and copyright notice are included. Excerpts may be used with attribution under the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law.