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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47

There's so much I want to do in life, how do I determine the thing I should pursue?

I have many interests, but I understand that in order to achieve excellence in one area you need to focus your time and energy on just that one thing. Dividing your time and energy into multiple… (Show more)

I have many interests, but I understand that in order to achieve excellence in one area you need to focus your time and energy on just that one thing. Dividing your time and energy into multiple areas will result in mediocrity.

At the moment I've decided to put my life into "phases" - I'm currently working as a software developer and would like to continue doing so for the next 5-10 years. Then I would like to change career and move into finance with a programming emphasis. Then probably do some research in neuroscience. Towards the later years of my life I would like to pursue a career in politics perhaps.

Is this the right way to frame this problem?

46

How/where did you meet your wife?

Would you be willing to tell us a little about the dynamics in your relationship? What does she like best about you? What does she like least about you? Better yet... ask her to come on… (Show more)

Would you be willing to tell us a little about the dynamics in your relationship? What does she like best about you? What does she like least about you? Better yet... ask her to come on camera and tell us herself... :-)

What do you like best about her? What do you like least about her? Do you both have the expectation that you will stay married for the rest of your lives?

45

Do you know any 50+ year olds that did not have kids and do NOT regret it?

A lot of people around me seem to be having kids because they are "afraid of being 50/60 and regretting not having any". I feel the same way; Im a 33yr old female in a happy… (Show more)

A lot of people around me seem to be having kids because they are "afraid of being 50/60 and regretting not having any". I feel the same way; Im a 33yr old female in a happy relationship which gives me the option to start a family, but the responsibility that comes with raising children scares me more than the potential benefit of having someone take care of you when you get old. Am I being selfish? Are we (those not wanting to have kids) missing something that people who aspire to have a family have?

39

I always hear "never give up" as a motivational tool, but when should I just say fuck it and give up?

38

How to recreate our narratives to disable our victim mentality?

We are creatures of meaning, no doubt about this. Our life is not only a series of events, but we attach some meaning to these events and sequences of these meanings create our narratives. Oftentimes ego… (Show more)

We are creatures of meaning, no doubt about this. Our life is not only a series of events, but we attach some meaning to these events and sequences of these meanings create our narratives. Oftentimes ego creates self-destructive stories (I am a crap, I need more, I need validation) - how to rewrite these stories to make them empowering and encouraging? How to recreate stories we tell ourselves and how to create narrative that will disable our victim mentality and will allow us to take the control of our lives?

37

I am overly-sensitive. What are you thoughts about this personal feature and what, if any, reading recommendations do you have that discuss it/explain it scientifically and offer helpful advice living with it?

A good example of being overly-sensitive is knowing with great accuracy the emotional state of others. I do not know why or the cause, especially if we are not very close - but after 28 years… (Show more)

A good example of being overly-sensitive is knowing with great accuracy the emotional state of others. I do not know why or the cause, especially if we are not very close - but after 28 years - if someone I know at least as a frequent acquaintance is upset and no one else notices - I DO. If I think someone is hurt - THEY ARE. If I sense they dislike me - THEY DISLIKE SOMETHING ABOUT ME. In additional to that - if someone is expressing hurt and pain - I feel like I am feeling those things with them; I feel it in my gut and the tension in my body (same for positive emotions as well). I am a rational decision maker and feel like I have my life in order and I am not walking around crying over every sunset or anything - but when it comes to interacting with people there has always been a sense of something intangible that I cannot explain - but that also feels very real and potentially useful if I could better understand it. A good example is interacting with a person who appears "nice" and does not say anything directly hurtful or mean (may not even say much) - but makes me feel uneasy or uncomfortable; after knowing them for some time such feelings begin to make more sense usually, as I recognize some specific behavior and "proof" that explains the feelings that seemed to come from merely a presence. Sorry this is so long, but as I said I consider myself a rational and thoughtful person - so this is something I have recognized about myself and given a lot of thought and consideration that I am victim of hindsight but don't want to be - or some other weird thing. I don't think I am alone with all of this - so what is all of this? And why does it feel so draining so much of the time? And how can I use feeling things so deeply that are so specific and intangible - rationally? Avoiding another person that "I just a have a feeling I need to avoid" makes me feel guilty and irrational. I have stuck around sometimes and learned that I was correct in my initial gut feelings; but just because my gut was correct before - maybe it will fail next time, so I never fully trust it and find myself confused by it. While I have learned to trust my feelings and my guts more and more as I get older, I also worry by doing this I am going to "let emotions take over" and prefer to be thoughtful and rational instead. Kind of a mess... hopefully you have something to help, and I appreciate it if you do.

35

What would you say is the most controversial opinion you hold?

31

Mark, what are your top 5 favorite movies and why?

30

How do you know when you should get married?

Is it something you just know beyond any doubt, or is there still at least a little doubt before you say I do? When is a good age to get married? How do you know when you're ready for marriage?

29

Are you writing another book and if so what is it about?

29

How have you internally handled being around people with shitty values?

Hi Mark! I really love your chapter in The Subtle Art about values, and am working on my own. However, I've also begun to notice when people around me have crappy values. For example, my roommate.… (Show more)

Hi Mark! I really love your chapter in The Subtle Art about values, and am working on my own. However, I've also begun to notice when people around me have crappy values. For example, my roommate. Obviously, I can't just dump this person, and I honestly don't want to, but their prioritization of bad values is really getting under my skin. How do you handle clashing values?

29

Should picking an ideal romantic partner be a logical decision?

I’ve dated plenty of women I’ve been infatuated with, but that have had major compatibility issues. Many of them I couldn’t keep my hands off. Now (and once before), I’m dating someone who’s beautiful, has their… (Show more)

I’ve dated plenty of women I’ve been infatuated with, but that have had major compatibility issues. Many of them I couldn’t keep my hands off. Now (and once before), I’m dating someone who’s beautiful, has their shit together, and treats me really well. She’d be the logical ideal partner, but yet I feel somewhat indifferent towards her. Is it time to move on, or is this something I need to address?

28

Can you talk about unconditional love and self love? How do we work through the fears and obstacles that test our love and faith in each other and ourselves?

I have read that in order to attract a healthy relationship filled with unconditional love, we must ultimately first learn to love ourselves. The journey of self love can be at times very difficult. The highs… (Show more)

I have read that in order to attract a healthy relationship filled with unconditional love, we must ultimately first learn to love ourselves. The journey of self love can be at times very difficult. The highs are very high and the lows are painful,almost unbearable. The temptation is there to build a wall around our heart, build conditions & protect our ego. How do we get through this pain and what can we do during this journey to help aid us in the process of learning (and attracting) unconditional love without completely falling to pieces or worse yet, caving into the temptation to let go and run from the process all together?

27

what does it feel like to have found one's purpose?

26

Are you familiar with Jordan Peterson and his work? If so, do you have a general opinion of his social and political stances, as well as his approach to self-improvement?

His work, more specifically including: - Youtube content - Books, especially his most recent one - Online courses His views/stances: - The pitfalls of postmodernism - The validity of psychological profiling w/ Big 5, and how… (Show more)

His work, more specifically including:
- Youtube content
- Books, especially his most recent one
- Online courses

His views/stances:
- The pitfalls of postmodernism
- The validity of psychological profiling w/ Big 5, and how these traits generally differ among population sub-strata (gender, political affiliation)
- The value of religosity

25

What is the best way to deal with your demons ?

personal struggles, fears, things which hold us back and don't allow us to be our best self.

24

How to follow through on plans without validation

I am a scientist, 2 years out of a PhD, and therefore need to develop myself to be a more independent researcher. My problem is I am a bit needy of my boss to tell me… (Show more)

I am a scientist, 2 years out of a PhD, and therefore need to develop myself to be a more independent researcher. My problem is I am a bit needy of my boss to tell me what to do. I am capable of making my own plans, but I always seem to rebel against them and procrastinate. But when my boss asks me to do something, I just go ahead and do it. It's like I need external validation to believe that a plan of action is worth doing. Anything that I want to do out of my own interest is somehow worth less. The net effect over the long term is that I'm always doing stuff that someone else told me to do, and have done precious little of my own innovation. How do I change this mindset?

24

What self limiting belief have you found the most difficult to overcome?

23

Is your wife really interested in your work, or does she just kind of let you do your own thing and not pay much attention?

23

What would you do if you were starting your writing career right now?

23

If you could put anything on a giant billboard that thousands of people would see, what would it be?

23

Being Average

I realize that I'm going to be average, at best, at most things I do in life. On bad days, this makes me feel like my life is worthless. What's a healthy way to cope with this reality?

22

Is it better to start dating someone you like before you're in love with them, or should you just wait until you're in love, then start dating them?

22

What advice could you give to someone trying to give up binge eating?

Hi Mark. I've been wanting to write to you about this for a while. Thank you for the opportunity! I've read your post about the boy who lost huge amount of weight and also your post… (Show more)

Hi Mark. I've been wanting to write to you about this for a while. Thank you for the opportunity! I've read your post about the boy who lost huge amount of weight and also your post on how you quit smoking. I find these very inspiring and relatable. I began binge eating years ago and even though I try to break the cycle, I still do it. Feeling anxious and having the urge, the overeating, the horrible effects from this including guilt and gaining weight and then realising this has to stop. Then trying to loose this weight, be healthy and not sucumbe to the urges. I guess my question is, what advice could you give me and people that seem to be in this specific cycle with food? Why can't I stop it??
Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome. There are other things I wanted to ask but I've upvoted similar ones to the ones I had in mind.
Looking forward to your video,
Best wishes
Gaby
From Oxford

21

What do you eat? What is your diet like? Do you have an exercise regiment? Im basically asking how do you stay healthy and maintain your physique?

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