You are as powerful as your ability to say “no.”

It’s easy to say “no” to the things that are an obvious a waste of your time, or are in clear violation of the things you hold dear – a 1 or 2 out of 10. And it’s easy to say “yes” to the things are obviously perfect for you, that fit you like a […]

The “Ham and Worming Tablet” School of Marketing

The biggest lie your teachers ever told you was “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” Don’t get me wrong – I agree with the metaphor, because what we’re really saying to kids, when we warn them against judging a book by its cover, is “you shouldn’t judge a human being merely by their […]

Forge the path only you could forge

Whatever it is you want to accomplish with the time you have left on this planet, getting a clear picture of it in your head is an important first step, but it’s just one half of the puzzle. The other half is forging your path – figuring out just how you’ll get from where you […]

What are they going to mock us mercilessly for in 2100?

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Isaac Newton. Sort of… explanation at the end of the piece. One of the ugliest things about the current generation of humans is how highly it thinks of itself relative to the generations that came before us. Even though humans have […]

The rain doesn’t care how loud you shout for it to stop.

Imagine going for a pleasant walk in the countryside, when suddenly it starts raining – just a drizzle at first, but then a heavy downpour. Perhaps you start walking faster to get back to the car. Perhaps you were clever enough to bring an umbrella, and you get it out. Perhaps you start shouting at […]

Let’s stop pretending racism is anything more than insecurity

Racism might masquerade as a belief in the superiority of your race over another, but if you believe that, then you’ve fallen for the oldest trick in the book. This is nothing more than a clever sleight-of-hand, craftily employed by racists from time immemorial, to cover up what’s really going on in their heads. The […]

Add resistance, not just difficulty

There is a theory that goes around – primarily amongst older guitarists, though not exclusively – that if you want to learn guitar, you should not start on electric. It’s not true at all – and it probably prevents a lot of would-be great electric guitarists from ever trying – although like all theories of […]

Work deeply, or not at all

When it comes to keeping yourself hydrated, nothing works better than drinking small amounts of water throughout the day. If you need 3 litres per day, for example, it’s not more efficient to try drinking them all at once – your kidneys can only process around 1 litre per hour, and so anything above that […]

Make it easier for yourself

If there’s something you want to improve about your life – read more, eat less, learn to play piano – how do you go about getting yourself to do the things you need to do to make that happen? Do you have to force, coerce, and bully yourself into action, hating every second until it’s […]

Living problem to problem

Frank Zappa’s paternal grandfather didn’t like taking baths. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what problem this created. But he was no fool, old Zappa. He found a solution: he wore lots of clothes and doused himself with an excessive amount of cologne. Here in 2019, we might scoff at this unhygienic, Sicilian, turn-of-the-century […]

The difference between writing and typing

Upon hearing that Jack Kerouac had written his wildly popular novel “On The Road” on one continuous scroll of typewriter paper during a three-week benzedrine binge, the novelist Truman Capote famously quipped: “That’s not writing, that’s just typing.” It’s not that Capote was wrong, it’s that he missed the point. Three weeks in the typing, […]

Keith James, Leonard Cohen, and taking your time

Keith James I went to The Greystones on Sunday night, to watch Keith James. He’s a very talented man who tours the world playing the songs of Leonard Cohen. Keith is a tribute act in the truest meaning of the word – rather than pretending that he is Leonard Cohen – whilst we all sit […]

Fill your present moment with meaning

It is possible to both be fully in the present moment and to sow a brighter future for yourself. Our culture, however, creates a false dichotomy between the two, and what we end up with is citizens who fit the bill. The two extremes On one side you have the Epicurean hedonist. Lacking the requisite […]

Do the right thing, especially when it feels impossible.

“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying…or busy with other assignments…” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations I have a very bad habit. I wonder if you share it too. I love – I relish – the idea of taking responsibility for my actions. […]