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 […]

Today we’ve got dozens of excellent deals on everything from games and toys to high-end electronics and accessories to help make this Independence Day a memorable one. Vizio D65x-G4 65-Inch 4K HDR Smart TV ($449.99) With a built-in Chromecast and hundreds of internet channels to stream from, this TV makes it easy to access all of your favorite videos online. The TV also supports a fast SoC with four CPU and four GPU cores. You can get it this 4th Of July from Walmart marked down from $698.00 to $449.99. Apple AirPods w/Charging Case ($144.99) What better way to celebrate your independence than with a pair of high-quality earbuds to help block out bothersome external noises and enjoy your music. You can get Apple’s AirPods this Independence Day from Amazon marked down from $159.00 to $144.99. Google Nest Hub ($79.00) Google’s Nest Hub is a versatile device that makes it […]

As we transition through life, we experience traumas, reshuffle priorities, and lose relationships. But this all allows us to reach our true potential. Life is a bitch. Then you die. So while staring at my navel the other day, I decided that that bitch happens in four stages. Here they are. Stage One: Mimicry We are born helpless. We can’t walk, can’t talk, can’t feed ourselves, can’t even do our own damn taxes. As children, the way we’re wired to learn is by watching and mimicking others. First we learn to do physical skills like walk and talk. Then we develop social skills by watching and mimicking our peers around us. Then, finally, in late childhood, we learn to adapt to our culture by observing the rules and norms around us and trying to behave in such a way that is generally considered acceptable by society. The goal of Stage […]

Baruch Vega ran a scheme that ensnared Colombian cocaine kingpins and gave him a life of luxury. Then one put a price on his head. I. THE RAID SHARE THIS ARTICLE When the FBI showed up at the door of his penthouse in Miami Beach, fashion photographer Baruch Vega was drinking merlot with a group of models, stylists, and assistants. The group had just returned from two weeks of shoots in Puerto Rico and Cancún. They were preparing for another in Jamaica the next day. It was March 21, 2000. Vega was 53 and feeling like he’d hit his prime. Trim and tan, he owned a nine-seat Hawker jet and was a fixture at South Beach’s trendy restaurants—always wearing a tight black T-shirt and surrounded by beautiful women. He was thinking of trying to make one of them his fourth wife. But this fabulous life was actually a cover. Although […]

Tony Robbins once asked a crowd of thousands to imagine their door bell ringing. When they opened the door, he told them a “depressed person” was at the door. He then asked them to describe that person. The answers? Probably similar to yours: drooped shoulders, downcast, messy hair, a frown, a quiet voice, no eye contact. Then he asked them to imagine that a “happy person” rang the doorbell. What did that person look like? Big smile. Friendly eyes. Warm handshake. Raised chin, standing tall. Eye contact. Robbins then asked everyone to physically imitate “a depressed person” and “a happy person” for one minute — act “depressed” and act “happy.” Robbins asked them how they felt afterwards. The answer: it had a huge effect! Even a minute of acting like a “depressed person” made many people actually feel sad and alone. How you act determines how you are. If you want to […]

There are two trains of thought – One leads to procrastination and one leads to motivation. And somewhere in between, there is a junction called anxiety. Let’s first look at the procrastination train of thought (at least that’s going somewhere, amirite?). People often think procrastination is about time management, laziness, or a weak will but that is not the best way to understand procrastination. According to research, poor emotional regulation and a failure of self-regulation cause people to procrastinate. We procrastinate because some tasks put us in a lousy mood and we want to repair that mood to feel better. Ok, time is not entirely irrelevant when it comes to procrastination. After all, there are deadlines. But, it really is more about emotion/mood repair mechanisms in the context of time – specifically, the near future. Roy Baumeister, an influential psychologist, says that procrastination is a “self-defeating behavior pattern marked by […]

NASA needed a supercomputer to get us to the Moon, and it had to be generations ahead of the state of the art at the time. This is the 12th in an exclusive series of 50 articles, one published each day until July 20, exploring the 50th anniversary of the first-ever Moon landing. You can check out 50 Days to the Moon here every day. Your dishwasher has more brain power than the computer that flew the Apollo astronauts to the Moon. But don’t let your dishwasher take control of your spaceship anytime soon. That’s not a measure of how basic the Apollo computers were, but rather how much the engineers and programmers in the 1960s were able to do with the modest computing power that was available to them. The computer they created was a marvel, and its impact is all around us, even though we don’t notice. NASA […]

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Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska To get to the Mendenhall Ice Caves in Juneau, Alaska is a trek. You can only get there first by kayaking, then by ice climbing over a glacier. It’s worth it, though—the caves, which are in a partially hollow glacier, have water running over rocks under blue ceilings. The scene is otherworldly. Red Beach, Panjin China Forget about sandy white beaches here, this incredible beach is sandless and gets its striking red color from a type of seaweed. Known as Sueda, the seaweed grows green before turning red in the fall months. Red Beach isn’t just unusually beautiful, but is also a diverse ecosystem on one of the largest wetlands in the world. Hundreds of different bird species call it home and though most of the area is closed to tourists, there is a small section of the area open to nature lovers. Cave Of Crystals, […]

With enemies like these, the industry is going to need some friends. In October 2016, then-President Barack Obama hosted a miniature version of the blowout tech conference South by Southwest, which the White House called South by South Lawn. Obama, as The New York Times put it at the time, had “brought Silicon Valley to Washington.” He even hinted that if he hadn’t been president, he might have become a venture capitalist. “The conversations I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying,” he said. My, how times change! Most American politicians would not be caught consorting so openly with the technology industry these days. And now that Big Tech lacks top cover, government agencies are moving in. According to new reports, Google and Apple face deeper investigation by the Department of Justice, while the […]

Google’s definition of what makes the very best managers will help you be your very best. It’s not every day you learn of a really smart company setting out to prove that managers don’t matter. But that’s exactly what Google did with Project Oxygen. The hypothesis was that the quality of a manager doesn’t matter and that managers are at best a necessary evil, and at worst a useless layer of bureaucracy. The early work of Project Oxygen, in 2002, included a radical experiment — a move to a flat organization without any managers. The experiment was a disaster, lasting only a few months as the search giant found employees were left without direction and guidance on their most basic questions and needs. Never daunted, Google pivoted to extensively study the opposite question — what are the common behaviors of their very best managers? It came up with a list of eight attributes, verified quantitatively and qualitatively in […]