Monday night is chore night at the Biesel household, and that usually means a rush hour trip to the grocery store to pick up the week’s supply of ingredients. It often happens, as I’m waiting in line at the checkout, that the person behind me is purchasing a smaller load of groceries than I am. … More When Morals Collide
Hello there! As of this writing, I have officially finished my first term as a visiting assistant professor at Carleton College, and our unusually long winter break is essentially the whole month of December. I’m tired and looking forward to a bit of a rest, but I also don’t want to waste the opportunity to … More Goals for Winter Break
I used to imagine that when two people are trying to act in their own self-interest, the result is a kind of tug-of-war: In other words, there’s a loser and there’s a winner, and the winner is the one who pulls harder to get their own way. These days, however, I find it helpful to … More Tug of Cooperation
I’m fascinated by cases where, in order to achieve something, it’s better to focus on something else instead. Here’s Viktor Frankl’s take on success and happiness: “Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; … More That which cannot be pursued
In the ten years or so that I was taking piano lessons, I caused my teachers a lot of frustration by how slow I was to learn new pieces—one even called me the bane of her existence. It wasn’t that I didn’t practice; I was all too happy to practice a piece once I’d figured … More Practice and overfitting
This is not the blog post I planned to write this week, but for a happy reason: our piano came today! This piano is the one I played on when I was taking lessons in high school, and it’s been living with my parents ever since I moved out. Until now! Finally choosing to bring … More We have a piano!
Sometimes, to get something you want, it’s helpful to want something else. For example: If you want to be fit, it’s better to find a kind of exercise you enjoy (e.g. swimming, aerial acrobatics, ultimate frisbee—it’s up to you!) than to fight yourself over doing something you hate every time. In other words, find a way to … More Substitute Desires