Ask Me Anything

Below are questions that have been submitted for me to answer. Logged in members can upvote any question by clicking the up arrow next to it. Every few months I’ll pick some of the most upvoted questions (as well as some other questions I think are particularly good) and answer them in one of my Ask Me Anything videos.

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177

Can chemistry be created?

I've been in an essentially sexless marriage for 10 years. We've always been best friends and never had that time when we were all over each other. In the beginning we both had our emotional shortcomings… (Show more)

I've been in an essentially sexless marriage for 10 years. We've always been best friends and never had that time when we were all over each other. In the beginning we both had our emotional shortcomings and married for security and companionship. Over the years I have grown and matured to a point where I can now see that my husband and I have compatibility but no chemistry. I know I want more intamacy, sex, and excitement in my life. I don't know if this is something that can be created between us or if it's time to let go so we can experience that with someone else.

112

I struggle to make true friendships but I am quite social. How can I differentiate between having to change something with myself or embracing the person that I am?

Mark, I have always wanted to ask this question. I am not shy and I like socialising and don’t mind public speaking just to give you an example of the type of personality I have but… (Show more)

Mark, I have always wanted to ask this question. I am not shy and I like socialising and don’t mind public speaking just to give you an example of the type of personality I have but I truly struggle making friends and I am not quite sure whether there is something wrong with me or whether it is the person that I am and the person I should embrace.

100

When to intervene?

We all witness things that we believe to be wrong — you see a man yelling at his girlfriend on the street, someone verbally assaults someone for speaking a different language, a frustrated mother slaps her… (Show more)

We all witness things that we believe to be wrong — you see a man yelling at his girlfriend on the street, someone verbally assaults someone for speaking a different language, a frustrated mother slaps her child, etc. All of those examples are clear — we all probably think we'd step in and stand up for the victim. My question is about when the line is not so clear... My sister, for instance, is in a crap marriage due in large part to some deep self-esteem issues which manifest into very controlling, un-empathetic behavior. My stance to-date has been, "It's her life; leave it alone; you can't change her anyway." But now they are thinking about having a child, and I think *both* of them are not at all healthy enough — neither as individuals nor as a couple — to raise a child. My thinking has morphed into, "You can fuck up your own lives all you want, but don't bring an innocent kid into your shitshow." Do I have any responsibility to say something?

91

How to secelect the right non fiction books for me to read?

There are of course several options like some ranking sites etc. But still, also crapy books may score pretty high in those. So I would like to ask how and where to look for books which… (Show more)

There are of course several options like some ranking sites etc. But still, also crapy books may score pretty high in those. So I would like to ask how and where to look for books which may give me the most value? And what is your attitude to summerize them for database? Do you take notes while reading, or do you sum them up in the end? Some tips on this topic?

88

How to live the fucking moment?

We're always striving for a new friends, more stuff, more sex in order to have a better life. But living like this makes life empty and you're not living in the moment. How the fuck can… (Show more)

We're always striving for a new friends, more stuff, more sex in order to have a better life. But living like this makes life empty and you're not living in the moment. How the fuck can we stop kidding ourselves and not procrastinate our enjoyment?

83

What exactly is compatibility?

You've written about compatibility a lot, but mainly about the fact that it is important for a fulfilling relationship. So I've understood that "Love Is Not Enough", but which areas does compatibility include? Sorry for asking… (Show more)

You've written about compatibility a lot, but mainly about the fact that it is important for a fulfilling relationship. So I've understood that "Love Is Not Enough", but which areas does compatibility include?
Sorry for asking again, but your answer in the last AMA was rather short and I am interested in a more in-depth answer, because your concept opened a new way of dealing with relationships. :)

81

Is striving for perfectionism self-defeating?

Whenever I commit to doing something that would benefit me and my life, be it eliminating bad habits, a change in diet, working out, etc. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to doing… (Show more)

Whenever I commit to doing something that would benefit me and my life, be it eliminating bad habits, a change in diet, working out, etc. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to doing things right, without fail.

'I can't miss my workout today, no matter what'

'I have to eat only specific types of food everyday and not go over my calorie limit'

'I need to wake up everyday at 5:30AM without fail'

These are just some examples of what goes on in my head, but it goes for everything I set my sights on.

This need to do things right and to not skip new habits takes a lot out of me. It takes a lot of discipline and willpower to stick with it, and ultimately, I end up failing to meet my own standards, which results in me feeling bad and reverting back to old habits.

My brother keeps telling me 'These are just made-up rules in your head. You don't need to attain perfection. These self-imposed rules only hurt your progress at anything you want to achieve.'

I know the answer is that perfectionism is a made-up ideal in our heads and nobody can attain it, and that it's okay to fail, but I'd really love for you to give a detailed answer on how to overcome the tendency to want to be perfect all the time whilst trying to build new habits and eliminating old ones.

Thank you.

69

How to break away from the algorithmic life hell?

Procrastination, anxiety, procrastination, anxiety. Repeat. Wanting to do everything while knowing I can’t do everything at once. So I buy more courses , more books, and becomes more anxious and depressed with every passing minute knowing… (Show more)

Procrastination, anxiety, procrastination, anxiety. Repeat.

Wanting to do everything while knowing I can’t do everything at once.

So I buy more courses , more books, and becomes more anxious and depressed with every passing minute knowing that I’m wasting my life.

I know the reason is the fear of uncertainty and caring so much what others would think of me.

How do I break away from the hell of the algorithmic life which is the o my way I know how to live for 30 years?

68

How do you stop feeling inferior to other people?

61

I recently did your build a better life course. When I look at what I have to do now, I don't feel like doing any of it. Why?

58

How do I learn to cope with feeling severely embarrassed? I'm a college student and when something embarrassing happens to me I shut down and feel awful about myself and over think everything.

I shut down when something embarrassing happens. It usually ends up with me crying and becoming even more self conscious. I know low self esteem has a lot to do with it, but I would love a suggested coping method.

50

What do you think are the best or most beneficial 3-5 characteristics a person could embody?

The last time I sat down to really think about the most important traits I wanted to embody, I came up with 1) empathy, 2) accountability, and 3) open-mindedness. But there are so many, and I'd love to hear what you think.

43

Do you think we all take ourselves and life too seriously?

I’ve had a really tough few years in terms of figuring myself out and balancing business school/work. I burnt myself out and developed anxiety/depression and unceasingly pondered the most perplexing questions. Recently I watched South Park… (Show more)

I’ve had a really tough few years in terms of figuring myself out and balancing business school/work. I burnt myself out and developed anxiety/depression and unceasingly pondered the most perplexing questions. Recently I watched South Park and realized that we’re all just irrational, close minded, and take this gift of life way too seriously(us being the people in the first world). Do you think if we all just learned to laugh more at how silly we all can be we can solve a lot of societies neuroses?

39

Grief relief

In the last four years I have watched my dad and Mom die in a nursing home. My brother (best friend) die from hep C. My sister in law and her husband die in a head… (Show more)

In the last four years I have watched my dad and Mom die in a nursing home. My brother (best friend) die from hep C. My sister in law and her husband die in a head on with a semi truck SD just a couple of weeks ago. They were so close myself and my wife! And then my rock-roll- brother hung himself in his backyard. Him and I were roadies togeather in mid 70s. We had loved each other as brothers. So life is pretty tough as I type this. tears again. hd
I also was rapped by a fucking close friend of my parents when I was about about 12 or 13. That last issue is still fucking with me. I only told my wife a few months ago. She was and still is the only person I’ve ever told.... (this is the one that still fucks with my head! ??

39

Are people who are in the self-help realm the most fucked up?

Are the people who give out self-help advice the ones who actually the most fucked up and have had the most trauma in their lives? Are those who seek it ficked up as well or are we all just crazy?

38

What are the most important characteristics in a friendship?

We see all sorts of dating advice and our romance lives are analyzed half to death by ourselves and loved ones, but yet friendships are hardly talked about. What separates those who have lots of fun… (Show more)

We see all sorts of dating advice and our romance lives are analyzed half to death by ourselves and loved ones, but yet friendships are hardly talked about. What separates those who have lots of fun meaningful friendships to those who experience few? (demographics, personality and communication, vulnerability, purpose and beliefs, interests etc etc)

38

How would you differentiate between accurately spotting emotional manipulation and the projection of your own insecurities onto others?

37

How do you suggest understanding where your spouse is coming from regarding sex/intimacy needs?

We get along great; in almost every aspect of our lives. But we can't get on the same page in terms of sex and intimacy needs. It's really difficult to put ourselves in each others' shoes… (Show more)

We get along great; in almost every aspect of our lives. But we can't get on the same page in terms of sex and intimacy needs. It's really difficult to put ourselves in each others' shoes and overcome the struggle without tearing each others' faces off in the process.

37

How do I stay relevant as I grow older?

The New York Times has recently published an article seeking young writers 'who know what their peers want to read about.' That makes sense. There'll always be demand for the young. Almost every company out there… (Show more)

The New York Times has recently published an article seeking young writers 'who know what their peers want to read about.' That makes sense. There'll always be demand for the young. Almost every company out there tries to cater to the young/youth audience. They are the primary target audience for the majority of campaigns -- social, branding, etc. -- from a variety of organizations -- governmental, telecom companies, publishing house, entertainment, etc.

I understand why that is. But my concern is how does one make sure that as they grow old, they don't become obsolete? I'm a tech writer myself and I live and breathe tech and gadgets. I see comments all the time that most CNET editors are old and boring. They're not really relevant anymore/they can't write targeting the young audience anymore is a common expression found among the younger tech audience. You'll rarely find young audience reading CNET articles. They read Engadget, The Verge, and other publications like that.

The expression that 'CNET editors are old and boring' is something I've heard more often than I can remember. And after seeing this NYT article, I'm wondering, how do I stay relevant as I grow old? I want to be in tech journalism eventually, but growing up in a third-world country, I don't see that happening anytime soon. But when the time comes, how do I make sure I've not already lost the 'mojo' that will cater to the most desired target audience of that time?

With thanks,
A.I. Sajib,
ais.blog

37

Why do we respect strangers more than loved ones?

Recently I was disgusted by a mom offering me politely to go ahead in supermarket cue, after she slapped her child for touching the sweets. Then I drove home, greeted my neighbor respectfully, and entering home… (Show more)

Recently I was disgusted by a mom offering me politely to go ahead in supermarket cue, after she slapped her child for touching the sweets. Then I drove home, greeted my neighbor respectfully, and entering home started complaining about the mess to my spouse.
Josh, 34

32

How do I deal with paradigms?

My father often said things that were basically installed in my mind: “If it was that simple someone else would have already done it” or “Starting Monday I will change everything” meaning being on a diet,… (Show more)

My father often said things that were basically installed in my mind: “If it was that simple someone else would have already done it” or “Starting Monday I will change everything” meaning being on a diet, working on XYZ, etc.

I know that and believe I have come a long way dealing with this. But I still catch myself sometimes procrastinating (waiting for Monday) or not putting in the effort (fearing it might be for nothing). The latter does not only happen in my career but also in my marriage, which I am very afraid of.

Do you have any idea how to deal with this?

32

How to deal with a toxic family member? Remove them/talk to them is not an option.

32

Mark ... Do you believe that envirnoment is 80% of who you are ?

How much of who we are is Nature vs Nurture ?? Thoughts

31

How do you judge whether people are worthy of your time, energy, thought and emotion?

My difficulty in being open to new friendships, collaborations, business opportunities etc is deciphering whether I want to invest the time and energy into building a meaningful relationship where I can trust this person. I tend… (Show more)

My difficulty in being open to new friendships, collaborations, business opportunities etc is deciphering whether I want to invest the time and energy into building a meaningful relationship where I can trust this person. I tend not be bothered with superficial relationships because I generally dislike chit-chat. I find it very upsetting when I've just invested energy into someone who in turn throws me under the bus (even if only a little energy, b/c it means I didn't read this person well). At the same time, I want to be open to the relationships that truly add value.

31

Why isn't there a forum or comment section on this site?

When I read one of your articles, I usually wish I had someone to discuss it with. I would love to hear about the experiences and opinions of others on some of these topics.

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