Q: Everything I do seems to fail. It makes me think the world would be the same if I didn’t exist. How do I get better even after trying extremely hard at everything?

A 22-year-old says, “Hey, I’ve fully tried every religion and philosophy there is. How come I can’t find Ultimate Reality or inner peace?”

Notice how on the Roadrunner cartoon the coyote only tries each costly contraption once.

Trying hard at everything could mean not giving the right things enough time and space to work. By time, I mean consistency—consistent learning, practice, delivery… And by space, I mean resourcefulness—keeping specifics open to modifications in terms of exactly how, where, with whom… Continue reading

Should I trust someone who has hurt me before or keeps letting me down?

Imagine you’re in a dark room. You hear familiar footsteps outside that make you shudder. You remember the last time that person came in and wouldn’t stop stomping on you.

Sure enough, they enter, you get crushed, and then the pain reminds you of your unseen assailant long after they leave.

In that scenario, you are your own heart. Continue reading

I feel like everybody else is moving ahead in life except me. What should I do to feel better?

 

You’ve been sitting at a railway station, watching others come and go on trains. But you’re not really sure where you’re headed.

It doesn’t matter why everyone else seems sure. And you might never be. That’s ok.

The unbearable feeling of wasting life brings pressure just jump on any train. Continue reading

As an introvert, how can I write a “sexually confident” character?

Gradually…

And that would apply to all writing and characterization. Don’t take your first draft too seriously.

I believe characterization is everything in fiction. Seeing your characters come to life is what keeps you and your readers glued to the story.

So once your initial draft is done, I’d recommend going over it however many times it takes . . . editing/adjusting/adding/subtracting . . . until you can read the whole thing aloud and be happy with it. It’s during that process that you’ll really come to know your characters.

A character that’s most unlike you can be the most fun to write. I say push the boundaries. Freely explore exactly what makes you uncomfortable. Practice naturally building tension between your character’s ways and your own point of view. That natural tension can serve your story incredibly well.

Does anger lead to bad choices? Can anger ever be helpful?

Anger can do two things—one harmful, one helpful—both of which bring you fully into the present moment.

Harmful

Anger sets your focus on how you wish things were right now. It fuels itself on what you feel is unfair or wrong with your current situation.

But acting on that anger could conflict with what you want in the long run . . . especially if how things are right now isn’t ultimately that important.

Helpful

Anger can also heighten your intuition and instincts. If you ever have to fight for anything in your career (or elsewhere), anger can be a great source of power to draw from.

So, should you be brought fully into the present moment?

 

How do I know that I am taking the right steps to achieve my dreams?

If you truly believe your dream is your potential to reach, then every attempt at figuring out how can be a lesson. You’re never certain that whatever you’re trying is exactly the right thing to do. But belief in your dream and potential shows up as resourcefulness . . . trying everything feasible/viable/advisable/imaginable, learning, and always moving forward toward your overarching (yet often practically unclear) vision.

When you don’t want your current life, but feel you don’t have the plans or means to change it

Realizing that you don’t want your current (old) life is enough. Set that change in your perspective free, and it charts a course you could never plan for (though the right plans construct themselves as you go) to a life you already have the means to step out into and experience now.

I recommend finding a way that works for you to naturally come to life somewhere online. Do so consistently over time, and you gradually connect with all the right people who want the same things you do.

Keep going, and the new life you want gets clearer and clearer until one day you find yourself already living and enjoying it.

How to stay motivated for a long project, like a novel

The task is daunting if that’s what you’re focused on (especially once you’re done blasting through your first draft). But let creating that which is in you to create make you the artist you see yourself potentially becoming. That’s how to keep the fire of vision burning long after the joy of plot cools to tedium in the space of countless re-re-re-edits.

Either this is who you are . . . or don’t bother.

 

Why do some people think the Bible is a special book?

Because of how it can be tied it to experience.

You find the same dynamic at play whether in the words of the Bible itself, in sermons being preached, in studies on theology, or just in conversations between Christians: Part of what’s written or said touches real human experience, while the rest frames and interprets that experience into a narrative—a story that accounts for it. Continue reading

How can I make myself a better, more positive, and confident person?

Overall, people really aren’t that complicated. We move toward what we tend to focus on.

That same basic premise gets articulated many ways. Listen to Earl Nightingale’s powerful speeches from the ‘50s, read The Secret, follow the Faith movement in Christianity, or examine anything under the Law-of-Attraction umbrella. Continue reading

Is science driven by doubt?

No, I see potential or possibility as the engine that drives science forward; for scientific hypotheses come as intuitions, and not as the end result of any conscious undertakings.

Intuitions are unconscious. They serve to reveal yet-unacknowledged possibilities like connections between seemingly disparate worlds.

But the scientific method used to rigorously test those intuitions (hypotheses) is certainly driven by doubt and objectivity.

What can you accomplish in life so that no one messes with you?

Ok, the glib answer: nothing

You might accomplish enough wealth to protect yourself from all attacks and ridicule; but the only way to avoid being messed with then would be total isolation. And that would be messing with yourself more than anyone else ever could, because it’s impossible to live a worthwhile life completely disconnected. Continue reading