Brilliant's Blog

A Celebration of Life

A Book to Help You with Your Inner Work

I’ve been reading Robert A. Johnson’s Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth In it, Robert explains “Inner work is the effort by which we gain awareness of the deeper layers of consciousness within us and move toward integration of the total self.”   Also, “Every person…

Letting Go of Preferences, Prejudices and Problem Solving

I have a theory that problems don’t exist—that anything we call a “problem” is just a judgment. If you’re okay with the weather where you live, it’s not a problem. If you like the food in your town, it’s not a problem. If you’re content with your spouse or partner…

Knowing What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

Whenever you feel stuck or overwhelmed, one of two things are almost certainly true: 1) you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, or 2) you DO know what you’re trying to accomplish, but you don’t know the very next step to take to get there. Having clearly articulated (written) goals…

The Rules We Live By

Each of us lives according to a set of rules. I was reminded of this after reading an article titled “Man punches nurse in the face multiple times after his wife is vaccinated for Covid”. The man in the article might live by rules like, “My wife must have my…

Make the Most of Your One Wild and Precious Life

Oliver Burkeman wrote a fantastic book called Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. Adam Grant calls this “The most important book ever written about time management” and I will be interviewing Oliver about it on the School for Good Living Podcast. In it, Oliver explains how he used to be…

Why You Might Want to Write Every Day

Last year, Tim Ferriss had Jerry Seinfeld on his podcast. Tim asked Jerry what he would include in a writing class if he were to teach one. Jerry answered by saying, “Well, I would teach [writers] to learn to accept your mediocrity. No one’s really that great. You know who’s great?…

Resist the Urge to Understand

Werner Erhard once said, “In life, understanding is the booby prize.” Google defines a booby prize as “a prize given as a joke to the last-place finisher in a race or competition.” Culturally, we strive to understand. We’re trained to understand, and rewarded for it. Science breaks systems down into…

Listen for—But Not Always TO—Your Inner Voice

“Never believe any thought you think about yourself that limits you in any way.” One of my teachers once gave me that instruction. He wrote it down, and I read it three times before I grasped it. There’s a lot in that lesson, namely that believing—or not believing—our thoughts is…

Remembering The Inspiring Content from Books You’ve Read

Dani Saveker is a master life coach who created Visual Synopsis, a site where she catalogs inspiring content from books she reads with the aim of making it simple, memorable and beautiful. Browsing this site, I find value in three ways. First, I’m inspired by the way that Dani combines…

A Climate Report to Give You the Facts and Spur You to Act

The IPCC—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—just issued its latest report, and there’s a lot to be concerned about. You can see the full report here. For an overview of the report, check out Vox.com’s article: “The devastating new UN report on climate change, explained”. And, in case you feel…

Poetry, Friendship and Culture

Poet David Whyte loves to walk, and he invites you to walk with him. He offers a walking tour west of Ireland called Poetry, Myth & Music for the Soul, one in English Lake District called Compass Points: Setting Direction for a Future Life, one in the Hills of Tuscany called…

Showcasing Nature in Its Colorful Glory

Life in Color with David Attenborough uses innovative technology to explore nature from a fresh perspective to show how animals use color to survive and thrive in the wild. You have to see it for yourself to understand how awe-inspiring and beautiful it is. This docuseries, as it says on the…

People Are Working to Help You Live 120 Years or More

Jacqueline Detwiler-George recently published an article in Popular Mechanics called “Can Science Cure Death? It Sure Looks Like It.” (The article is behind a paywall on Popular Mechanics, but in case you don’t subscribe, you can read the full article here) The article contains a number of interesting tidbits, including this:…

A Poem to Help You Be Human

I recently rediscovered Rumi’s touching poem “The Guest House”. It’s such a beautiful and profound way to describe being human, and a masterful description of how to skillfully navigate life’s vicissitudes. May we all cultivate the courage and wisdom to greet life’s inescapable pain with lightness and even laughter.

How I Realized that the Universe Isn’t the Cold, Dark, Empty Place I Thought It Was

Years ago, I used to think the universe was a vast, cold dark, empty place to which my existence mattered not even the tiniest bit. Then I listened to a Radiolab podcast that changed my perspective. The episode explores how we see color. And color, of course, is a function of…

Helping You Author—and Live—a Powerful Life Story

George Bernard Shaw said, “Life is not about discovering yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Someone who understands this well is Dr. Dennis Rebelo, author of Story Like You Mean It: How to Build and Use Your Personal Narrative to Illustrate Who You Really Are. Dennis is a professor, speaker,…

A Story to Inspire You to Hit Your Deadlines Even When It’s Hard

Sometimes I don’t hit deadlines. I greatly admire people who do. David McRaney is one of those people. He’s the host of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast.. Last week David was a guest on the School for Good Living Podcast. During our interview, he told me an incredible story about a time…

What Do You Really Know about Living a Good Life?

A teacher of mine once asked, “If you could travel in time and go forward or backward five thousand years, but couldn’t take anything with you—no books or photographs, no tools or technology—what could you possibly tell the people you’d meet that might help them to live healthier, happier lives?”…

Life Is Not a Problem to Be Solved

I have not yet encountered a problem in life that I couldn’t solve on a whiteboard. For example: Want a profitable company? Easy—just make sure that your revenues are greater than your expenses. Be fit and healthy? No problem—avoid junk food, eat clean and exercise regularly. Write a book? It’s…

An Exploration of Desire, Acceptance and Action

I used to think that desire was binary—that you either have it or you don’t. You either want to write a book or you don’t. You either want to be fit and healthy or you don’t. You either want to be a good parent or manager or you don’t. You…

International Dance Day

Happy International Dance Day! A friend of mine once asked me, “What if you were so happy that all that was left was to dance?” Writer Aldous Huxley once said, “After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Music I’ve been using to help me create…

The High Price of Success

When I saw my dad after his legs were amputated, he was pretty out of it. The hospital staff wheeled him out of the operating room while he was still under anesthesia. He was in a lot of pain. His diabetes had progressed to a point where it made sense…

An Honest Prayer

The Merton Prayer is a humble and moving expression of prayer.  It’s found in Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude. Merton was an American monk who explored Eastern thought as part of his his study of mystic practice. He was one of the first Western religious thinkers to initiate dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures,…

The Question I’ve Used to Start More than 100 Podcast Interviews

“What’s life about?” It’s my favorite question for Uber drivers and podcast guests. I’ve opened every one of my School for Good Living Podcast interviews over the last three years with it. That’s because when I meet someone, I want to know how they see the world, how their mind works and…

The Six Words I Say Each Morning without Fail

I’m not a morning person. Believe me I’ve tried. (Sorry Miracle Morning.) For the better part of my life, if I was ever awake to see 5AM, or the sun rise, or to hear the birds begin chirping, it was probably because I’d stayed up all night. In other words,…

Letting Go of Possessions to Live a Simpler, Deeper Life

Best-selling author Ann Patchett has written a thoughtful essay called “How to Practice” that explores living, dying, and accumulating and letting go of possessions in between. Here are a couple of passages I found particularly insightful: “In any practice, there will be tests. That’s why we call it a practice—so we’ll…

A Challenging Yet Relaxing Game to Exercise Your Brain and to Help You Think without Thinking

When you’re dealing with a difficult situation or trying to solve a problem—especially one that requires you to think—trying harder or expending more effort can be counterproductive. When I find myself in that situation, I like to do something that puts my brain in neutral—what Barbara Oakley, author of Learning…

Need Help Overcoming Procrastination?

Every organism seeks to conserve energy. So if you find yourself judging yourself for procrastinating, simply realize that you’re doing what organisms do… exerting no more energy than you absolutely must. And then, with that bit of self-compassion, see if it helps to try the following: Flip the statement “I’ll…

Everything You Know about Obesity Is Wrong

Everything You Know about Obesity Is Wrong In the article linked above, Huffington Post journalist Michael Hobbes, co-host of the You’re Wrong About podcast writes, “Since 1980, the obesity rate has doubled in 73 countries and increased in 113 others. And in all that time, no nation has reduced its obesity rate….

For those Who Procrastinate Going to Bed

Do you stay up late and regret it the next day? If so, you’re not alone. In recent years, the term “revenge bedtime procrastination” has come to describe a phenomenon where overworked people stay up late in order to reclaim time for themselves. The downside, of course, is that they’re…

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