Pessimism comes naturally to me. Choosing between optimism and pessimism is like asking whether I would rather be disappointed or pleasantly surprised; it just sounds safer to choose the latter. But over time, pessimism takes its toll on my mood and health, and I’ve been advised many times to be more hopeful. Until recently, I’ve had … More How to hope
A recent Washington Post article has the title “When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t.” The article talks about how suddenly exponential growth seems to go from vanishingly tiny to passing a major threshold. This made me wonder if there is some natural moment in time at which we can … More Does an exponential curve have a corner?
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have seen some of my commonplace book posts, where I take a short piece of clever writing, try to understand how it works, and make my own version. Today’s piece of writing is this poem I saw making the rounds on social media, which … More The Commonplace Book #4: “Scroll down / Scroll up”
I remember growing up reading a cross-stitch poem on my parents’ wall: Who hath a friend with whom to share hath double cheer and one-half care. The sense of “care” used here, and in similar sayings like “not a care in the world”, really seems more like what I’d call “worry”, and not so much that … More Worry less, care more
I’m what you could call shy. Here’s what happens when I am in a conversation with people I don’t know very well. My joints start to feel stiff and my breath gets shallow. Everything feels hard to move and I have to concentrate on breathing normally and not clutching one arm with the other. When … More On not exuding confidence
I should be saving more. I should be traveling more. I should wash the dishes. I should figure out what I want to do with my life. I should read more books. Statements like these flit through my mind all the time. Clara wrote a few months ago about the way “should” statements induce anxiety: Whenever … More "Should" without the anxiety