Be an everyday hero: Podcast ep. 23 now released

Being your own hero means being a role model to yourself and others. It means becoming someone you can look up to, admire, respect. This is self-esteem, and it’s the foundation for happiness.

But it doesn’t require that you achieve superhuman feats or massive achievements in one swoop. Join Matthew as he discusses the daily choices and behaviors that everyone may practice, and how being a hero is attainable for everyone. And necessary for everyone.

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Are you fully alive? Podcast Episode 22 now released

Are you “just living” or are you fully alive? The latter doesn’t have to mean you’re jumping out of airplanes and swimming with sharks. In this interview, best-selling author and sought-after speaker, Danny Bader, offers a tried and tested system for developing a vision of your best self and creating that reality–today and every day.

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Podcast ep. 17 released

Either-or thinking is keeping us from making good choices, both in socio-political issues and in our personal lives. In the former, false alternatives are often erected to establish partisan lines which substitutes rationalization for rational thought, keeping us further from solutions. In the latter, a similar method of rationalization (advocating for choices based on emotional considerations) keeps us from making optimal choices by never defining a rational goal.

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Podcast Ep. 8 now released

In this episode, Matthew has fun dissecting the lyrics of a 2003 Ben Folds song, highlighting the wisdom within related to comparison culture. He discusses the repulsive nature of envy and bullying, and the futility of measuring one’s worth in relation to other people. See what messages you read in the sage words of Ben Folds. What’s your take?

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Is it evil to help others at your own peril?

Estimated reading time 7 mins.

Photo by Alem Su00e1nchez on Pexels.com

The title is a summary version of a recent question from a reader, as it is more or less implied in what I say in a recent article, “There’s No Such Thing As a Necessary Evil. The reader quoted an excerpt from my article, then asked the question as follows:

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There’s no such thing as a necessary evil

Estimated reading time 11 mins.

“I know I should be giving to that charity. But I can barely pay my daughter’s hospital bills as it is. And we’ve been saving for that new used car. I fear we’re going to have an accident one of these days with the clunker we’ve got. I want to be good, but I just have to look out for us first. Oh, that sounds bad like that. But nobody’s a saint. I guess we’re all just a little selfish and evil deep down. And people understand, really. They all do the same most of the time. It’s necessary. Yeah, sometimes you’ve just got to choose a necessary evil. I wish it weren’t so costly to be good, though.”

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Enter at optimism

Estimated reading time 4 mins.

The following is a revised excerpt from my essay, “What is Objective Optimism?”, which you can read in full here. For a briefer introduction to Objective Optimism (OO), which is distinct from Pessimism and—more notably—from Subjective “Optimism” (SO), go here. For some illustrative applications of OO versus Pessimism and SO, go here.

In the Q&A of a mock panel discussion related to the topic of Pessimism versus Optimism in my university classroom this past semester, one student asked the “panelists” an excellent question: Does success lead to optimism or does optimism lead to success?

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Applications and illustrations of objective optimism

Estimated reading time 15 mins.

The following is a revised excerpt from my essay, “What is Objective Optimism?”, which you can read in full here. For a briefer introduction to Objective Optimism (OO), which is distinct from Pessimism and—more notably—from Subjective “Optimism” (SO), go here.

In my essay, “What is Objective Optimism?”, I take great pains to separate Objective Optimism (OO) from the subjectivist who evades awareness of real risk or downside and attempts to operate in a kind of “ignorance-is-bliss” euphoria. “It’ll all work out” is not a formula for optimal results and cannot properly be called optimism. I also repeatedly emphasize that the issue of optimism versus pessimism is not about accurately or inaccurately calculating probabilities, but rather, given the probable outcomes, upon what does one place one’s focus and how does one proceed in action?

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What is Objective Optimism? (an introduction and comparative table)

Estimated reading time 7 mins.

The following is a revised excerpt from my essay, “What is Objective Optimism?”, which you can read in full here. For some illustrative applications of Objective Optimism (OO) versus Pessimism and Subjective “Optimism” (SO), go here.

Optimism needs a new look

Optimism’s got a bad rap. It is associated with ignorance, naivety, and immaturity. A Morgan Housel article does well to highlight a few reasons why pessimism is sexy, but John Stuart Mill in any case identified the tendency over 150 years ago:

“I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs while others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.”

An optimist is an adorable but pitiful child who expects the best in the world until such a sage elder (or harsh reality) snaps them out of their foolish, idealistic notions and expectations. The child is an adult now, properly cynical and “realistic.”

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What is Objective Optimism?

Estimated reading time 53 mins.

Note: I am not a philosopher or psychologist nor any kind of expert in either field. But that doesn’t disqualify the following hypothesis as haphazard or necessarily invalid. I say simply that it corresponds with my experience, organizing without contradiction the successes and failures I’ve observed in other people and in my own life. Each aspect of my life improves to the extent I apply this framework, and it falters to the extent I stray from it.

In spite of all that, please consider the following a hypothesis and not a definitive proclamation. The method itself demands that I never cease to revise and reorganize my ideas into clearer and more precise concepts as I take on challenges from others (and myself) and as I live and learn. But I’ve been living and learning for a long while, and in this first “essay,” it is the most comprehensive formulation I can make to date.

Optimism’s got a bad rap. It is associated with ignorance, naivety, and immaturity. A Morgan Housel article does well to highlight a few reasons why pessimism is sexy, but John Stuart Mill in any case identified the tendency over 150 years ago:

“I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs while others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.”

An optimist is an adorable but pitiful child who expects the best in the world until such a sage elder (or harsh reality) snaps them out of their foolish, idealistic notions and expectations. The child is an adult now, properly cynical and “realistic.”

Continue reading