Posts From Mark

Becoming More Optimistic

In the last post, I set out some of the reasons for thinking that optimism is a better choice of ‘explanatory style’ than pessimism, and suggested that it is possible to consciously develop a more optimistic way of thinking. Making the transition to greater optimism is really a matter of recognizing three simple truths. Recognize that you are in the habit of thinking negatively We do not see the world

The Meaning of Life

Life has the meaning we give it — our richness, our enthusiasm, our pride — or our cowardice. ~Miguel Torga. The search for meaning is a constant theme in our lives. In a sense, the search for meaning is our primary pursuit in life, and people have found all kinds of ways to imbue their lives with meaning. But I believe that meaning can be found in the way we

Giving Up

On October 29 1941, the United Kingdom’s then Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow School – his almer mater – to speak to the students. The speech he made became one of his most quoted – or rather, misquoted – speeches. The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, ‘Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give in. Never give in. Never give in. Never give in.’


If you were unlucky enough to get caught in quicksand, you would find very soon that struggling to free yourself led to your sinking even faster. A man who cannot swim and struggles to stay afloat will end up sinking. The best option would be relax, let go, and stop fighting. A fly caught in a spider’s web can only hasten its demise by continuing to struggle. This, of course,

A New Approach to Achieving Your Goals

“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round. I really love to watch them roll” – John Lennon Setting goals is one of our favorite pastimes. For the most part, we’ve grown up with the idea that things are achieved when we make plans and take the necessary action towards them. We also tend to think similar things about goals. Usually, we associate goals with effort and

Dealing with Suffering

Many years ago, I read a beautiful description of the sun shining through the branches of a tree in winter. The low sun’s rays come streaming through, but only because the tree is bare. In the summer, when the tree is in loaded with leaves and flowers, the light cannot penetrate, but in winter, when the branches, stripped of their foliage, stand naked, and no color remains, the sunlight can

How to Change Other People

  When I was a child, I heard a wonderful story. Like all good tales, it is appealing in its simplicity, and it stays with you over the years, taking on new layers of meaning as time goes by. It goes something like this … “The sun and the wind were arguing over which of them was the more powerful. After a while, they noticed a man walking along the

Being Alone

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. ~Henry David Thoreau People are sometimes classified as ‘introverts’ or ‘extroverts.’ Commonly confused with terms such as ‘shy’ and ‘outgoing,’ these two types of people are different in one quintessential way, and it has nothing to do with shyness or otherwise. Introverts generally find the company of other people rather draining and need time

The Negative Bias of the Media

In today’s so-called “information age”, we are constantly barraged with news and media coverage of every event. It often seems that each event is accompanied by a maelstrom of negative ideas, with coverage of events presented with an emphasis that makes every event seem more disheartening than the last. For viewers, this can create an inaccurate perception of the world around us that has the same negative undertone, making us