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Bounded and unbounded ambition

Bounded and unbounded ambition

Our desires are often overblown. Of course, some things are better than others, but when our preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we overrate the difference between the two, we risk sacrificing things of real value. 

When our ambition is bounded, we're prudent and thoughtful. When our ambition is unbounded, it can lead us to lie, steal, cheat, and hurt others. 


268 reads


William Shakespeare said, "Tis nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.

Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, said, "The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life seems to arise from overrating the difference between one permanent situation and ano...


271 reads

The ability to synthesize happiness

All human beings have this capacity to synthesize happiness, but some can do it more effectively.

  • Freedom - the ability to make up your mind and change your mind - is a friend of natural happiness because it allows you to choose the one you would most enjoy. 
  • H...


277 reads

Psychological immune system

In 1642, Sir Thomas Brown wrote that he is the happiest man alive. "I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles. Fortune hath not one place to hit me. "

All humans have the same remarkable notion


321 reads

Impact Bias

Impact Bias

Impact bias is the tendency to overestimate the hedonic impact of future events.

For example, consider two groups of people where one group won the lottery, and the other group became paraplegics. Data shows people of both groups are equally happy a year after the e...


383 reads

Synthesising happiness

Synthesising happiness

  • Natural happiness is what we get when we obtain what we want.
  • Synthetic happiness is what we make when we don't get what we want. 

In our society, we strongly believe that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind. Howev...


313 reads

The importance of understanding synthetic happiness

The importance of understanding synthetic happiness

In a Harvard study, students could join one of two photography courses where they can also develop two of their best photos, one for them and the other for headquarters.

  • They could join the course where they had four days to decide which photo they wanted to keep.


264 reads




The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.

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The cardinal virtues of Greek philosophy and their benefits

The cardinal virtues of Greek philosophy and their benefits

Whenever we lie, cheat, steal, take the easy way out, or ignore others in need, life is immediately easier for us. But after a while, these things weigh on our consciences.

If you choose the virtuous path in each of these situations, you live without regret, with purity, and with good inten...

Grit and the power to adapt

  • Winners quit fast and often when a plan is not a good fit. The sunken cost fallacy might try to sway our decisions, but the “willingess to jetisson” (quit and switch paths when they are no longer a quality match for us) is a key trait for late specialization...


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