How I Rewired My Brain to Be Ultra-Social
I’ve always been an introvert. As a kid, I spent many solitary hours taking things apart to figure out how they worked, making things with the limited resources that were available (like legos…
I Almost Died. This Is What I Learned
This is an epic recounting of what happened when I was suddenly hospitalized with a rare condition, what the medical staff did, what the homeless and drug addicts did, and how I handled all of it.
How to Have Compassion for Narcissists
I’ve dealt with my fair share of narcissists. There seems to be quite a few of them in the world. I’ve been gaslighted, projected-onto, and generally treated like I was made of dog shit. Many people…
Why the Problem of Consciousness Is so Hard
I just read a great article in The Guardian about the struggle of scientists and philosophers to understand consciousness (link at the end). The Guardian article covers the history of the quest to…
What I learned from dating a female narcissist
Only a small fraction of the women I have dated have acted-out consistently on the narcissistic spectrum. I have combined the experiences with those women into a composite for the purposes of this…
The Value of Incompetence
At work, I meet with a different person for lunch every day. I also usually have one-on-one meetings with one or two other people throughout the day. All of my lunches are scheduled out until…
My Struggle with Projective Identification
I’ve been in therapy on and off, mostly on, for almost twenty years. I like therapy so much that I even trained to be a therapist, getting a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Anyone who needs that much…
How to End Suffering
Many people seem to think that suffering is the same thing as pain. They ask, “If I didn’t have suffering, then wouldn’t I burn my hand on something hot?” In this case, pain is a sensation that the…
How Do We Stop Child Molestation?
I have been wanting to write this article for a long time, but I have held off because this subject is so taboo. Since I don’t adhere to the socially acceptable position of “They should just be…
What If This Is What We Really Want?
What if what we’ve been searching for has been here all along, right in front of our eyes? What if it’s been the simplicity of what is happening, no matter what seems to be happening? What if we’ve…
My Struggle with Enlightenment
I think that my writing is at its best when I address, as directly as possible, what is alive in me, which includes where I struggle. My writing becomes a way of publicly reflecting on things…
Freedom from Believing Thoughts
Last night I was at a bar in San Francisco, on a roof-top overlooking the city. I was with two young actors about to begin their careers. We started to talk about what might be possible in their…
You Can Become Whatever You Choose
A couple of days ago, I was presenting a research poster at a machine learning conference called ScaledML. Large groups of people were gathering around my poster while I delivered ad-hoc summaries of…
The Most Important Leadership Skill
I think a lot about leadership and how to motivate people, and I also often experiment with different approaches. It seems to me that the most important leadership skill, by far, is the ability to…
How I Forgave My Abusers and Escaped From Victim Mentality
My eyes opened slowly. Above me, I saw a meadow of beautiful pink and violet flowers. The scene was filled with a light that danced between the blossoms and washed across the field of soft, delicate…
Your Superpower Is Also Your Kryptonite
My superpower is the ability to work really, really hard. I have incredible persistence and work ethic. This has served me well. I’ve made millions of dollars, and achieved some pretty impressive…
Above All Else We Must Practice Falling
Have you ever watched a child learning to walk? They stumble left and right, forward and backward. They fall over often. We notice parents standing near their children, creating guard rails with…
Why I’ve Started Unfriending and Blocking People
I used to pride myself for never unfriending anyone on Facebook. I just wouldn’t do it. I wanted to show that I would reject no one, that I was perfectly inclusive. When things got really out of…
Time Is Not Real
Show me the past. Show me the future. The only thing that seems to be happening is the present. But without a past and future, the present is just what seems to be happening, without any context…
Why You Need This Powerful Self-Knowledge Tool
At psychology graduate school, I heard about the enneagram of personality, referred to as “the enneagram” for short, and I was initially very skeptical of it. The enneagram is a system for…
Statistics for Trolls and What I’m Learning from Perilous Bridge Crossings
I get approached by trolls of all shapes and sizes, and I’ve come to learn a thing or two about them. I know that the basic one-size-fits-all admonition regarding trolls is, “Don’t feed the trolls,”…
Networking for No Reason
I usually have one-on-one lunch meetings booked for weeks, if not months, into the future. Most of the people I have lunch with work at the same company as me, but sometimes I invite people from…
Toxic Masculinity Says, “I’m Weak”
I watched the Gillette video about toxic masculinity and my take on it is simply that it reflects how our society is changing: The general trend is that bullying is being increasingly understood to…
There’s No Such Thing As Ego
Very early this morning, I lay in bed with the fingers of my two hands knitted together and rested high on my chest. I was having trouble sleeping, so instead I was meditating. I started to notice a…
Anxiety Is Excitement in Disguise
At five am on a recent morning, I woke to find Cindy awake next to me. “What’s going on, babe?” I asked. This got me thinking about anxiety, a topic I frequently consider. Maybe what was trying to…
I Feel Terrified in Restrooms. Here’s Why.
I need privacy to pee. If there is nobody else in the restroom, then I can pee freely, but when there is someone standing next to me, even if my bladder is close to exploding, my urethral sphincters…
You don’t need therapy. You need lifestyle.
I’ve provided about 3,500 hours of supervised psychotherapy. I’ve also had around 1,000 hours of psychotherapy myself. The conclusion I came to at the end of my pre-doctoral internship is that most…
How to Make People Laugh
This is a compact guide to making people laugh in everyday life. This guide is going to teach you how to add real and effective humor to your work meetings, to your presentations, and to your dates…
Are We Remembering the Future?
On Facebook, I recently shared a video that was clearly intended to inspire people to envision the future they want. The video suggested that when we think about the future, we are actually…
When Work Is Play
I’ve been noticing how I experience work as play. Throughout the day, I keep a list of things to do, which I then get to check-off as they are completed. If I think of something that I could or…
All My Wife Needs Is Food and Cuddles
This is an off-the-cuff, quick-start care-and-feeding guide for the wonderful woman I’m lucky enough to call my wife. I’m writing this guide in a little coffee shop in Incline Village, Nevada, near…
Why Shame Stifles Creativity and How to Unwrap the Gift of Curiosity
Over the past week, Cindy and I have been staying in the Marais district of Paris, wandering around, living like locals. Perhaps, because I have more time on my hands than usual, when something has…
Thoughts Are Just Thoughts
I tend to believe that when I’m resisting a thought, I’m resisting what the thought seems to be about. So I apparently resist the thought and then there seems to be an emotion or some kind of…
This Is How I Suffer
When I suffer, it is because I am not identifying with myself, apparently splitting myself in two. For example, when there is pain in my body, and I believe the thought that “I am in pain” or even “I…
Will Machines Ever Be Conscious?
This topic is of particular interest to me because I’m an engineer working in the field of artificial intelligence, I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and I have a lot of experience with…
The Principles by Which I Live My Life
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been having a conversation about politics with some friends on Facebook. That sounds like a bad idea, I know. One of these friends, who identifies as extremely…
Why The Terminator Doesn’t Bitch About Money, and Why You Shouldn’t Either
Money is an amazing thing. It’s a powerful thing. Money represents a massive opportunity given to us by society. Money is the distillation of all the efficiencies we get from human collaboration on a…
How to Respond to Bullies
In this article, I’m going to instruct you on how to respond to bullies. First of all, we need to define what a bully is. If you witness someone trying to get others to do things by threatening them…
My First Public Tech Talk: What I’m Learning in Preparation
A while back I wrote an article titled What Standup Comedy Has Taught Me About Public Speaking and Life. That article provides a pretty comprehensive coverage of everything I know about public…
Some Snapshots from My Shitty Childhood
When I was about five, my parents divorced. I have very vague memories from that time. In one of my clearer memories, I was standing in the driveway of our house, presumably lost in thought, when…
Seeing Is Not What You Think
I sometimes find myself at work, sitting at a table, looking at the edge of it. I am engrossed. I reach out and start running my finger over the edge. I am engaged in a set of scientific experiments…
There’s No Escape from Freedom
Last night, as I got into bed, Cindy said, “there’s something going on with my Boo Boo!” I was struggling again with reconciling what seems to be happening in my experience with what other people…
We Don’t Need Personal-Growth and Self-Improvement
When I scroll through my Facebook feed or when I get involved in any discussion about mental health, I frequently experience other people talking about “personal-growth” or “self-improvement.” There…
What Actually Is Humility?
A lot of people who call themselves spiritual teachers talk about humility as a virtue to aspire to. In my experience, it seems that humility gets talked about often in this way but remains a vague…
Relationships Work When You Don’t Take Them Personally
I used to take relationships very personally. If my partner said something that pushed my buttons, initiating a cascade of righteous indignation, then I would engage with it: “How dare she say that!”…
Transform Group Dynamics by Diffusing the Drama Triangle
Once you know about this pattern of human behavior, once you’re able to recognize it, and once you’re able to avoid or resolve it, your life will become much more pleasant. Pretty much exclusively…
All Men Are Trash
I heard a story recently about a woman who claimed online somewhere that “all men are trash.” Shocking, huh? On the internet of all places. Who would have thought? What happened next is that some…
What It’s like to Feel Responsible for Everything
Last night, I woke up at around two a.m. and looked around. It was very clear that all that was happening was what was apparently being witnessed: everything in my field of vision plus the thoughts…
My Boundaries Are My Responsibility
I’ve often heard people saying about others, “He needs to learn about boundaries,” meaning that he needs to learn not to overstep other people’s boundaries. To me, this seems like an inversion of the…
The Ultimate Potential of Healthy Masculinity
I’m on a plane flying back to San Jose, California from Houston, Texas. My small, blue fishing rod is in the overhead bin. A couple of days ago, on a small boat, I was piercing a hook through the…
About Parking Hogs (and Blame in General)
I used to get annoyed by people who parked so that their car took up more than one space, or so that there was no room to park my car in an adjacent space. I used to judge them as being selfish…
How I Became a Writer
I’ve been writing publicly for around 13.5 years, and I decided that it’s time to take stock of where I’m at and how I got here. It was during the Summer of 2005 that I first started publishing…
My Struggle with Narcissistic Bullies
I don’t know why, but I seem to regularly get pulled into interactions with narcissistic bullies. They come into my world and they seem to try to invalidate my experience. Most recently, there’s a…
The Law of Attraction Only Works When You Don’t Need It
I was in a live conversation today on a podcast show where we were talking about setting intentions for the new year. The show seemed to go a little off-track, and some yelling happened (including…
Your Most Important Relationship Is Between Your Inner-Parent and Inner-Child
My wife, Cindy, has taken part in many sharing circles. A sharing circle usually consists of one person talking about whatever they want while the others listen, don’t interrupt, and attempt to hold…
Your Non-Adaptive Behavior Serves an Important Purpose
I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, which means that I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to sit with people and support them in self-awareness and self-directed-change. Since completing my…
Searching for Myself
Am I the sensation on my forearms? Am I the aching feeling in my toes as I move them? Am I the uncomfortable sensation in my stomach? Am I the tingling in my head? Am I these sensations? Am I these…
What’s Happening Is Never a Problem
What’s happening is always simply what’s happening. It’s always completely manageable. Problems don’t arise in what is happening, except as concepts about the past or the future, which are themselves…
I Did Fuck-All This Weekend
This weekend was an anomaly, not because I did fuck-all, but because I did fuck-all with abandon. I didn’t just do fuck-all and pretend to myself that I was going to be productive; I did fuck-all…
How I Weather a Bear Market
Prices in the stock markets have been dropping recently. Last night, on Christmas Eve, there was a massive sell-off. According to NPR, this has been the worst December for stocks since 1931. My…
Think Before Doing
I’m going to tell you about a powerful idea that keeps showing up for me. This idea has helped me enormously in my life. In a nutshell, we often get stuck not knowing what to do because we don’t…
Could This Ancient Ritual Be an Effective Treatment for Depression?
I’m writing this in a tent, using a pen, at the Headwaters Outdoor School. The school is in the forest near the foot of Mount Shasta, a dormant volcano and the second-highest peak in the Cascade…
Awareness Is an Illusion
This is a very controversial statement in any circle, spiritual or not. We all assume that awareness is real. It seems like we’re looking out of our eyes at reality. It seems that we’re aware. The…
Psychopaths in a Nutshell
I’m not a world-class expert on psychopaths, but I’ve thought about them and read about them a lot. I believe that understanding psychopaths can help us to understand ourselves and to dispell an…
A Brief Glimpse of Reality
About seventeen years ago, I had a series of experiences that I called spiritual. These experiences went on for years, at least six years. Some of them seemed to involve the revelation of what I…
My Strange Relationship with Yoga
I first did yoga in the late 90s. My wife-at-the-time told me about it and suggested we go together. I realized that I didn’t have appropriate shoes, so I made a point to go to the store and buy some…
The Parasite Behind the Cat Lady
Cindy and I were sitting in our hot tub the other night, talking with a couple of friends from England, when the topic of cat ladies came up. That was probably because my friend Daniel is the…
A Plausible Path to a Push-Button AI Apocalypse
Before we get into the horrors of artificially intelligent dystopias, I want to reassure you that I’m an AI optimist. I, for one, welcome our benevolent yet super-intelligent robot overlords, our…
How to Always Crush a Job Interview
I have a fresh, alive, and powerful conversation with with at least one person every day. I have all my lunches at work scheduled out for months. I have breakfast meetings, coffee meetings, and…
The Healing Power of Hot and Cold Water
Cindy and I are at Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California for the long Memorial Day weekend, staying in a little caravan on this land that we had both independently loved for years before we got…
How I Finally Quit Smoking and How to Change Any Behavior
I was at university and I had been smoking cigarettes for years. I was exercising most days and I had begun to notice that my level of fitness seemed to be capped by the smoking. My body and…
The Simplicity of Life
I have psychotherapy every week. I meditate now and then; I meditated this morning. I go to work. I exercise frequently. I try to sleep for eight hours per night, and I try to go to sleep at roughly…
Day 84: Strategies and Tactics
It’s really important and valuable for me to be aware of, and pay attention to, both my strategies and my tactics. My systematic strategic thinking is currently most apparent in the creation and…
The Whole Thing is Always Beautiful
If you have a fully functional parietal lobe, then you’ll be able to recognize and appreciate faces. Facial recognition in humans functions differently than other forms of object recognition. We…
How I Write with Authority
It seems that I write about things with a lot of authority, like I know what I’m talking about, like I’m confident. In truth, I am not confident at all. In truth, I am one of the most unconfident…
The Position of Power
In a room, the seat facing the entrance is generally considered the position of power. This is because it is inside looking out, is protected from behind, and provides the optimum vantage-point from…
Should Prisoners Be Allowed To Vote?
I’m writing about this topic in the context of a modern democracies in general, but I’m thinking particularly about the United States of America. This is a country that is supposed to exemplify…
His Mother Had to Give Him up for Adoption as a Baby
I was on a video call with my friend Dan when we decided to talk about a longing that I had noticed in him. Earlier, in a post on Facebook, he had asked his friends if they would honestly reveal…
We Are Not All One
It has been said to me, “It’s easy for you to say that we are all one when you are a privileged white male. Try telling a person of color who has been treated unjustly that we are all one!” The…
Social Time
I’m an mostly an introvert. I’m also a workaholic. Left to my own devices, I would never see anyone. Enter social tracking … I’ve been tracking social time for a month-and-a-half, and I’ve been…
What I Learned from My Dream Job Interview
I don’t know how it happened, but I was interviewing with a senior vice president (SVP) in the company where I currently work. I don’t remember what the role was, but I think it was in a…
My Sweet Friendship with No One
We just got back from Europe, and we’re recovering from ten hours on a plane and an eight hour shift in timezones. Apart from spending time in central London and Paris, and with my family, we also…
Hurting Women Is Not Manly
This is an amazing and thorough analysis of the problem with street harassment and rape culture. I was proud to see that much of my intuitive understanding of why men catcall and harass women on the…
How I Trick Myself into Writing Every Day
I love the process of writing. I love expressing my thoughts and then clarifying and sharing them. I love inspiring people. I’ve even already done pretty well at making a name for myself as an…
Overwhelm Is Always Just a Story
I woke up in the middle of the night last night, as I often do, and, before my viscerally-held self-concept could come in and claim what was happening, what was happening was just happening. There…
The Power of Not Reacting
This is at the core of everything I teach. It’s what I keep coming back to. I struggle with it, and everyone struggles with it. When we don’t react, we leave space to respond. You get that text…
On Being Imperfect
It’s Christmas Day, and I’m on day 112 of my lifestyle challenge. This past month has been, how do you say, different. Taking a look at this month’s chart and comparing it with the previous three…
Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs
Today I was sanding some spackle that filled a hole in the wall, a hole that I made by mistake while mounting a shelf, a shelf I put there to hold remote controls, remote controls for our TV and…
Happy Birthlife, Baby!
It was my wife’s birthday recently. She usually declares that the whole month in which her birthday occurs to be her “birthmonth.” At the start of the month, she makes a list of all the things she…
Problem Solving
Every day I use a brain training app called Peak. I’ve been gradually increasing my scores and noticing improvements in other areas of my life, which I believe may be related to the training. The…
Why I Cannot Be Converted To Your Religion
Every now and then someone starts trying to convert me to their religion. It’s usually either Christianity or Islam but sometimes, in a more subtle way, it’s some form of Buddhism. I wonder if there…
How I InstaTroll GaryVee for Followers
I’ve been following Gary Vaynerchuck (pronounced vay-ner-chuck) on Instagram for a long time. I haven’t really been using Instagram much, but whenever I would hop on there to look at something my…