It was August 2017 as I wrote these words in my notebook. I was sitting in my quiet room in an old guesthouse in the small town of Zao Onsen, overlooking the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture.
I was on holiday, a slow trip on local trains through rural Japan. I thought it might be nice to get a break from fast-paced Tokyo for a few days, explore Japan a bit more, and get a fresh perspective. It wasn’t an attempt to escape, I didn’t feel like there was anything I wanted or needed to escape from. I thought everything was…
Mental health is a continuum. Not being mentally ill doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthy.
Usually, we don’t really think or talk much about mental health, except in the context of serious issues (and even then we, unfortunately, have a tendency to ignore it).
But the pandemic has put a spotlight on mental health — and not just on the extreme ends of the spectrum.
While anxiety, burnout, and depression have certainly been on the rise over the past year, even more pronounced (albeit less obvious) has been the increase in people — myself included — who are just feeling…
Yes, there is tremendous enjoyment and value to be found in visiting a faraway destination and checking out the main tourist attractions, relaxing on a beautiful beach with an exotic cocktail in hand, or doing a long road trip trying to cover as much ground as possible.
But often the best kind of travel happens at a more relaxed pace — and it doesn’t even have to be far.
It’s not an escape from the daily grind and work, but something that weaves directly into our everyday life and lets us truly explore a place — as well as our…
Where do you think the most innovation is happening within a 20-mile radius of you?
If you’re now thinking something like “the university,” “our local startup accelerator,” or “my corporate innovation lab,” you are probably in good company. But even at the most forward-thinking institution, the scope of innovation is limited by funds, bureaucracy, risk aversion, or just plain lack of imagination.
There is, however, a place where innovation is truly boundless, often even bending or exceeding the laws of nature.
Somewhere near you is a playground.
Yes, a place with monkey bars, screaming kids, brilliant ideas, and anything-is-possible mindsets.
“I’m a fast learner.”
— Every candidate I ever interviewed for a job
It’s a statement that is so ubiquitous in resumes and job interviews that it has almost entirely lost any meaning.
Everyone seems to be a self-proclaimed “fast learner.”
But we know something is fishy when most people claim to be above average at something, just like in the often-cited example of 73% of US drivers thinking they are better than average drivers.
Part of the reason so many people are claiming to be fast learners might be a manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a genuine tendency to…
Imagine an elite athlete showing up to a key competition, completely exhausted from back-to-back performances in the previous days and pulling an all-nighter to work out in the gym the previous night in order to “prepare.”
This athlete would certainly get crushed by competitors, and reprimanded by the team and the coaches.
Yet for professionals in most other fields — from doctors, lawyers, and consultants to leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives — this seems to be almost the norm, and in far too many cases even something to brag about.
I recently saw a room on the social media app Clubhouse…
Most of us are becoming increasingly aware of how critical rest and time off are for our mental health, our overall wellbeing, and even our professional performance.
Many of us have come face-to-face with the negative consequences of not getting enough detachment, and we’re aware of the danger. Yet actually disconnecting and taking time off seems to be more and more difficult.
We just can’t shake the guilt that we associate with not constantly working. It’s been too deeply ingrained in our culture and our psyche.
My business partner John Fitch and I recently collaborated with Deloitte’s chief well-being officer…
I tried a ten-week program of resonance breathing to see if it would make a measurable impact on my anxiety. With the combination of hard data and more subjective analysis of the results, I would go as far as to say that the sense of anxiety I experienced last year is now completely gone again, and that the resonance breathing practice played a role in this.
2020 was a stressful and anxious year for many of us, and I’m certainly no exception to this.
Besides the pandemic, I also published a book, which at times made me feel like a…
I’ve been trying to quantify, understand, and improve my sleep for many years now, and in the following, I want to share with you my longest and most in-depth self-study yet.
So let’s take a look at what effects caffeine, alcohol, and exercise have had on my sleep.
I started this analysis in mid-2018 when I wrote about the results of tracking and modeling my blood caffeine concentration for a month.
Towards the end of 2018, I shared the results of a more detailed experiment, covering around three months of sleep and related data and attempting to find correlations.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Frequent reflection and a strong self-awareness are common amongst many of the world’s top performers. And few methods of introspection are simpler or more powerful than taking pen and paper and writing down your thoughts and feelings.
From morning pages to reflection prompts, the techniques for journaling are numerous and can help us gain much needed calm, clarity, and growth.
Rather than add another theoretical exercise to your arsenal of journaling techniques, I want to give you a concrete example of how a single journaling session brought me clarity in a…