by Matthew Boulton: Student of human flourishing and proponent of objective optimism
We can derive tremendous benefit from associating with other people, but only under certain conditions. We can learn from, trade with, enjoy the company of, and share romantic love with others. Here, I share ideas, stories, experiences, and other content related to defining and choosing the kinds of people who add to our flourishing, helping us each think about what are healthy versus unhealthy relationships.
In this early milestone 50th episode, Matthew reflects a bit by sharing a brief history as to why he proceeded to call the show “Mr. Bright Side,” knowing full well that it would always be confused with the 2004 mega-hit Killers song. He also shares a few personal stories over the years which have reflected back to him his natural tendency to optimism and enthusiasm, long before he ever developed his mature and formal philosophy. Listeners can take a lesson in self-awareness from these reminiscences.
At what age does one become a fully-formed individual? One modern-day comedian and one sage character from a short story published in 1939 have both offered a similar magic number. How is that two people from distinctly separate eras and experience have both identified the same thing?
How does charity fit into a life dedicated to gaining—not surrendering—values? If healthy human relationships are about win-wins, and charity is about gaining nothing for oneself, then is it good? And why do many of us feel so unfulfilled after engaging in sacrificial charity, if it’s the right thing to do?
How are billionaires and trillionaires regarded in our culture, and what does it say about us?
Last week, Matthew referred to a children’s science textbook outlining three symbiotic relationships in nature: mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism, and argued that only win-wins (mutualism) are good while win-lose/lose-wins (parasitism) are immoral.
If win-win relationships are possible, why should we want any part of a win-lose or lose-win? Yet lose-win is what conventional morality offers us explicitly if we take it seriously. And we ought to take it seriously. Our self-esteem and mental health depend on it.
What would embolden you to take on a suicide mission against a terrifying and colossal evil? What makes a leader? How can a leader be convincing and motivate those he proposes to lead? Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King shows us the answers.
Does good etiquette lead to self-esteem? Or is etiquette just a social convention imposed upon us and a show put on for others?
Learn the “meaning behind the manners,” as Nita Patel distinguishes traditional and modern etiquette, defining the latter as “where outer actions and your inner awareness come together to achieve your best self.”
Why do parents dread the “teen” years? And should they?
Dr. Cam says that if you expect the worst, you get the worst. But instead, if you understand why your teens act the way they do and expect good things, adolescence can actually be an ENJOYABLE experience.
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.
Do you feel frustrated with the changes you haven’t made yet? Do you know what to do, but you’re just not doing it consistently? If you doubt your ability to change, allow Elizabeth Benton to help you change your mindset.