Posts in Freedom
Evil Geniuses, #FakeNews, and Why You Aren't Free

The reason that so many people love to talk about freedom in the national political conversation is that, deep down, they do not feel a sense of personal freedom in their own lives. They know that they lack the discipline and value structure to achieve real freedom. Attributing this lack of agency and self-control to laws and political forces makes for a far easier pill to swallow than the reality that they chose their current state by living at the whim of their emotional impulses. The tendency to point to external factors rather than the role that they hold in their own life is the precise reason that they do not feel free.

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Are You Letting the World Make You a Lesser Version?

Technology will redefine the way we work, think, and live over and over again. Industries will rise and fall, social patterns will shift, but all the while you will be at the center of your experience. This is the essential point societies have repeatedly failed to honor following past changes, most notably in regards to the disruption that followed ubiquitous smartphone use. How well you weather this chaotic new world is completely dependent on your individual self-mastery. Regardless of how much technology shifts the landscape, you are still a human, driven by a hunter-gatherer brain and hunter-gatherer needs.  

The modern mental and physical health epidemics are spurred by technology that promotes immaturity. As we rely less on ourselves we remain lesser versions. Suddenly it becomes normal for adults to have donuts or fast food for breakfast every morning, to scan social media all day and night, and to spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need. To transcend these patterns, we have to intentionally craft a plan for daily self-development. The 30x30 Challenge is that daily plan.

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7 Rules for Creating Empowered, Antifragile Young Adults

The new school year is here and with it come brand new hopes and dreams. Yet, success is not a destination but, rather, a path that the most fulfilled people have internalized. We all have a vested interest in this path, but especially those parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors who would like to see their protégés flourish. Our mentees simply won’t outperform our model. Your disposition becomes theirs; your energy, theirs; and, most importantly, any of your own self-limiting patterns of thought will be internalized and become theirs. Do as I say only works if we do.

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The Costs of Utopian Delusions

We’d like an end to all prejudice, bullying, crime, and painful accidents. These are seen as obvious positives, yet we rarely stop to consider the immense costs of these pursuits. Good intentions often do more harm than good particularly when it comes to creating an environment of human flourishing. What we think we want is rarely in our best interest and, even when it is, the path there is usually full of unintended consequences that dwarf the intended good.

Ironically, if there is any sort of utopia that is possible in our lifetime it won’t be built through greater ease and convenience, but by a culture that demands effort, growth, personal responsibility, and an understanding of the essential role of discomfort and risk. Instead of asking the world to eliminate all pain and expand pleasure infinitely, we should be asking what societal structure pulls us to be better humans? For that we’ll need to embrace imperfect social constructions such as shame and honor.

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Be the Weirdo: Why Fulfilling Values Require Us To Behave Differently

The most important thing that can do to remain committed to your values is to embrace being a weirdo. This is a beautiful thing. Nearly every influential person in history was a weirdo. That’s exactly why we know their name. They dared to poke their head above the crowd, take a look around, and decide what direction they truly wanted to walk. They chose their own path, often with heavy opposition from those around them.

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Transformative Experience: Changing Thoughts and Feelings Through Action

Our large, highly-developed infrastructures preclude the need for rising to any occasion or banding together to get a job done. We’re conditioned to expect the government or AAA to step in and solve each problem. We are able to live completely insulated from the community contribution and frequent challenge that once defined human existence. This convenience comes at a price. More than any self-help workbook, it is powerful experiences that build confidence, embed good values, and foster a sense of purpose. Today our physical needs are met so effortlessly that we are rarely prompted to essential experiences that make us capable of meeting our emotional needs. Fortunately, those experiences are well documented and accessible to us all.

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Radical Honesty and Your Shadow Side: Authenticity in the Age of Artificiality Part 2

We are all pulled by a selfish shadow. Our shadow is that capacity for evil that is within us all, but it is also a source of great revelation, strength, and wisdom that allows for much greater good. Every shadow drive has this duality which speaks to the need to become familiar with it through thoughtful reflection. To explore the shadow we have to be honest with ourselves. In doing so, we can learn to be more honest with the world. Radical honesty is bridging the giant gulf between what we show on the outside and who we are on the inside. It makes solutions and growth likely. There is more short term discomfort with far less long-term pain.

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Auto-Immunity and Social Justice: When Good Intentions Betray Our Own Cultural Body

We see debate and discourse, the societal immune system to suss out and eliminate destructive ideas, being coopted and turned inward to attack the very structures and values that our country (and the rest of the Western world) stands on.

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The Basis of Bullshit: Bias, Logical Fallacy, and Our Imperfect Perceptions

Humans experience the world through flawed senses and an incomplete sensory set that is inordinately influenced by our own narrow experiences. The reality is, uncomfortable as it is to admit, we’re all wrong all the time. This becomes dangerous when we delude ourselves into certainty and refuse to confront the flaws in perception that characterize human experience. Yet, we must embrace a life of action. What we need are better mechanisms for interpreting the world.

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Feed The Right Wolf: The Undeniable Pull of Influence

We have access to the wisdoms of ages and... we have the Kardashians. How we choose to invest our attention says something about us, but even more importantly, it determines who we are becoming. Saturated in advertisement, social media, reality tv, and gossip driven news, we are literally allowing other people to turn us into who they want us to be. If these experiences dominate our conscious hours and those of the people we surround ourselves with, then who are we becoming? Our modern environment effectively brainwashes us to pursue deeply ungratifying ends that leave the masses controlled by dependency and addiction. The good news is we also have more power to change our trajectory than any time before. All the wisdom of human history is a few keystrokes away. We can move countries, change jobs, adopt new hobbies, join charities, enlist in the reserves, or begin to learn almost anything.  Now more than ever we need boundaries and intentional lifestyle design. We need to feed the right wolf!

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