This mental disorder gives us a unique insight into the digital age. We start with the case of a woman who experienced unbearable tragedy. In 1899, this Parisian bride, Madame M., had her first child. Shockingly, the child was abducted and substituted with a different infant, who soon died. She then had twin girls. One grew into healthy adulthood, while the other, again, was abducted, once more replaced with a different, dying infant. She then had twin boys. One was abducted, while the other was fatally poisoned. Madame M. searched for her abducted babies; apparently, she was not the only victim of this nightmarish trauma, as she often heard the cries of large groups of abducted children rising from the cellars of Paris. As if all this pain was not enough, Madame M.’s sole surviving child was abducted and replaced with an imposter of identical appearance. And soon the same […]

When you chase empty goals you become restless. Focus on your own potential and forget external expectations. Do you sometimes feel like you’re wasting your potential? And do you also feel unsure about how you can even reach your full potential? If so, you’re like any other ambitious person who wants to make the best of his/her life. Because to me, that’s what “reaching your potential” means. We all have limited time on our hands. Some live longer than others. But you and I both know that it’s not about how long you live, it’s about what you do with the time you’re alive. It’s about leaving everything on the table and making sure you live up to your inner drive. Look, when I talk about reaching your potential, I’m not talking about what other people or society thinks we should do with our lives. When you chase empty goals […]

The Secret Hit-Making Power of the Spotify Playlist Starley Hope thought she was done with the music biz after writing “Call on Me.” The song felt like her last shot at success after spending years trying to make it as a songwriter. “I decided I was going to give it up and get a ‘real job,’” she told the website Music Love. She released the track as her debut single in July, expecting it to be her swan song. It wasn’t. “Call on Me” currently sits at No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100. It hit number one on the Swedish charts, and went gold or platinum in nine countries. Hope wrote a certified hit single, one dwarfed only by the remix from Aussie DJ Ryan Riback. Although you hear it all over the radio now, Spotify users found themselves bouncing along to her synthy strains seven months ago. The song […]

If procrastination isn’t about laziness, then what is it about? If you’ve ever put off an important task by, say, alphabetizing your spice drawer, you know it wouldn’t be fair to describe yourself as lazy. After all, alphabetizing requires focus and effort — and hey, maybe you even went the extra mile to wipe down each bottle before putting it back. And it’s not like you’re hanging out with friends or watching Netflix. You’re cleaning — something your parents would be proud of! This isn’t laziness or bad time management. This is procrastination. If procrastination isn’t about laziness, then what is it about? Etymologically, “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare — to put off until tomorrow. But it’s more than just voluntarily delaying. Procrastination is also derived from the ancient Greek word akrasia — doing something against our better judgment. “It’s self-harm,” said Dr. Piers Steel, a professor […]

Have a fight in your life and you don’t know what to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Hello there, friend. What’s that I hear? You’re pissed off at someone? Someone is pissed off at you? You have a fight in your life and you don’t know what to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s with your mom, your aunt, your best friend Stan, or maybe even the mailman, I’ve got the solution to all your relationship problems! Below is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” for resolving your conflict. Yes, my friend, your conflict is an adventure. A rage-infused shit-festering adventure full of four-letter words and smashed cell phone screens, I’m sure. But an adventure nonetheless. Simply start with the first question below and navigate yourself to the end. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to do about your conflict. But even if […]

Learn faster. Retain more. Maybe even become the smartest person in the room. Science says so. While it’s nice to think you can hack your way to success, whenever you try to accomplish a huge goal — like starting and growing a business — skills matter. Who you know is certainly important. But what you know, and what you can do, matters a whole lot more. Which means the faster you learn, the more successful you can be. So let’s jump right in. Here are ten ways, backed by science, to speed up the learning process. 1. Say out loud what you want to remember. Research shows that compared to reading or thinking silently (as if there’s another way to think), the act of speech is a “quite powerful mechanism for improving memory for selected information.” According to scientists, “Learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When we add an […]

DMX’s life and career have been a roller coaster of highs and lows. Now, after a year in prison, he’s out and ready to start living again. September 23, 2019 It’s 2 a.m. and DMX is snoring. (Imagine DMX snoring and you’ve got exactly the right picture.) We’re in an SUV, driving to a pool hall in Westchester, New York, which is where he grew up and currently lives. He’s wearing headphones and just barely holding an iPad that’s fruitlessly playing an episode of Ozark. Exodus, DMX’s three-year-old son, is in the far back seat, blasting that baby-shark song that drives parents insane. The duet of deep snores and dooo-dooo-da-dooo is the soundtrack of our 50-minute trek from Lower Manhattan. It’s easy to forget how successful DMX was. To this day, he’s the only rapper to have his first five studio albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. […]

It’s been 30 years since the public first heard about Area 51. Here’s why UFO hunters are still obsessed. Thousands of people are expected to travel to desert towns in Nevada this weekend, inspired by a viral call to “storm Area 51” in hopes of overpowering the US military and uncovering whatever government secrets might be hiding there. The desert base, which is entirely off-limits to civilians, has long been at the center of a conspiracy among alien fans and ufologists — people who hunt for UFOs. Somewhere amid Area 51’s vast desert acreage, they believe, is a heavily guarded underground lab where the government keeps and studies captured alien aircraft — and possibly even aliens themselves. This belief that Area 51’s “military base” is a cover for alien research has been fully mythologized by pop culture over the years, becoming an entrenched part of alien lore. But those who […]

Have you reached a point where life’s repetitious routine has become overwhelming? Have the best laid plans fallen through? Maybe you’re not sure the right way forward, only that the path you’re on now isn’t it. Perhaps what you need is to step out of your day-to-day for a bit of a life-changing adventure. Perhaps for a week, two or ten. Before you say you can’t afford it, there are lots of ways to pursue an adventure on a limited budget. It’s what I did. Six years ago I embarked on an open-ended adventure. Now I spend half of each year traveling, and I’ve been to six continents, 48 states, 57 countries and in the process, became a better version of myself. Here are some ideas if you’re looking to do the same. Why Are You Going? Think finding yourself is only for the young and unattached? It’s not. You […]

How to get clarity in life. Do you ever feel like you’re completely lost in a world that keeps on racing? The world moves fast. One moment you’re excited about a new opportunity, and the other moment you feel totally hopeless for no particular reason. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s so much noise in the world that we lose sight of what we’re doing. It’s not uncommon to think, “Wait, what was I supposed to do on this planet?” Look, we all get distracted. The world’s a weird place. And people ask me about how we can get clarity all the time. One reader recently sent me this email: “Love to hear you talk about how to get clarity and minimize distractions and noise around us. What techniques do you employ to find that focus?” It’s a good question that got me thinking. And if I look at […]

Some people never grow out of conditional relationships. They hold onto the belief that love and acceptance are contingent on some benefit they’re providing to people, some condition that they must fulfill. We sit silently. My friend stares deeply into her empty glass, occasionally shuffling the ice around with her straw. “Wow,” she says. I sit and wait for her to say something else. What started out as a festive night somehow became a long, deep discussion about love, what it consists of, and how rare it actually is. Finally, I say, “Wow, what?” “I’m just thinking that I’ve never experienced that.” “Well, maybe you just haven’t met the right person yet,” I say — the totally cliche thing that every friend says in this situation. “No,” she says. “I mean, I’ve never experienced that with anyone. My parents, my family, even most of my friends.” She looks up at […]

From 2003 to 2012, music was disposable and nothing survived. . From the late 1990s until whenever we stopped burning things onto compact discs, I gave my friends, family, and colleagues a year-end best-of mix as my Christmas card. I kept it to my favorite 20 songs of the year, the final track listings subject to last-minute switches, bold additions, and sequence changes that were controversial to only myself. During a recent decluttering of my office, I found a whole bunch of them, from 2003 to 2009, and as I popped each one open and looked at the seven years of soundtracks I fretted over for seven solid Decembers, I was faced with one important question: What the hell are most of these songs? Now, listen: I can tell you my favorite music from 1987, because I still have my Replacements, George Michael, and Tommy Keene records. I know my […]

The neurology of flow states. Don’t look at the clock! Now tell me: How much time has passed since you first logged on to your computer today? Time may be a property of physics, but it is also a property of the mind, which ultimately makes it a product of the brain. Time measures out and shapes our lives, and how we live our lives in turn affects how we perceive the passage of time. Your sense of time is malleable and subjective—it changes in response to changing contexts and input, and it can be distorted when the brain is damaged, or affected by drugs, disease, sleep deprivation, or naturally altered states of consciousness. However, a new set of neuroscience research findings suggests that losing track of time is also intimately bound up with creativity, beauty, and rapture. Time is most commonly manipulated by the kinds of things we do to […]

Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment? One night about five years ago, just before bed, I saw a tweet from a friend announcing how delighted he was to have been shortlisted for a journalism award. I felt my stomach lurch and my head spin, my teeth clench and my chest tighten. I did not sleep until the morning. Another five years or so before that, when I was at university, I was scrolling through the Facebook photos of someone on my course whom I vaguely knew. As I clicked on the pictures of her out clubbing with friends, drunkenly laughing, I felt my mood sink so fast I had to sit back in my chair. I seemed to stop breathing. I have thought about why these memories still haunt me from […]

What do scorn, hate, anxiety, shame, and regret have in common? According to David Hawkins, they may be killing us. It’s no secret that our emotions can play a significant role in our mental and physical health. But Hawkins, a psychiatrist and lecturer, theorizes that what we feel on a daily basis is a matter of life and death — at least on the cellular level. Hawkins’ theory is based on his recent finding that all emotions have a specific amount of energy. While Hawkins believes lower-energy emotions like anxiety and shame contribute to cell death, more positive states of mind like peace, joy, love, and reason can actually make us healthier. Powerful as our emotions may be, here’s the good news: we’re not victims of the feelings that negatively affect our lives. Research on neuroplasticity demonstrates that the human brain is more than capable of reorganizing itself. But where do we […]