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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89

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.

70

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.

61

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.

58

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

55

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?

46

How do you know what you want in a partner?

If you have limited relationship experience, knowing what works and what doesn’t for you is not always clear. You may want x, but y is healthier for you. How do you get a better handle on… (Show more)

If you have limited relationship experience, knowing what works and what doesn’t for you is not always clear. You may want x, but y is healthier for you. How do you get a better handle on what values are important in a partner?

45

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?

45

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

44

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)

44

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.

44

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

41

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.

41

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

39

Getting over the feeling of lost time?

This relates to the latest blogpost, which while being focused on loss, was very relation-centric. The question is how to get over the feeling like you have lost a lot of good time, to the point… (Show more)

This relates to the latest blogpost, which while being focused on loss, was very relation-centric. The question is how to get over the feeling like you have lost a lot of good time, to the point it's no longer crippling you from taking actions toward making the future better and you're not daydreaming about what you could have done better in your past. BTW, if it's relevant, I'm a 22 yo about to enter the "real world", feeling like he wasted all the high school and college years and feeling like a loser in general.

36

What is your advice to people who have tried improving their dating life for years and failed?

Should the focus change from improving the current situation to accepting it completely? What would you tell a 40 year old virgin who is probably never going to get laid? Surely not every single person who… (Show more)

Should the focus change from improving the current situation to accepting it completely? What would you tell a 40 year old virgin who is probably never going to get laid? Surely not every single person who tried to improve his dating life will succeed. How do you accept something like that?

34

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

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

33

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?

33

What books do you recommend to get better at setting boundaries with people in your life?

I've read all of your posts and Models multiple times. I'm curious to know which book(s) you found the most helpful when it came to getting better with boundaries.

32

What’s the best advice for people in their 20’s who feel lost about what to do with their life?

30

Social Media: How do I co-exist with it (and even enjoy it) without comparing myself?

30

How do you find purpose in life?

My daughter bought me the book "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" and it emphasizes the importance of having a purpose in life--something that gets you out of the bed in the morning. My problem… (Show more)

My daughter bought me the book "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" and it emphasizes the importance of having a purpose in life--something that gets you out of the bed in the morning. My problem is that I suffer from what the Johnson-O'Connor Institute calls "too many aptitudes". Thus I find many different things interesting, but nothing that I could call a purpose in life. So how do you find that interest/activity/cause that gets you out of bed in retirement?

29

How can I short-circuit my craving for instant gratification?

I have a lot of goals for my future that require a lot of planning, strategy, and patience. For example: I'm a writer and, as you know, it can take years just to finish the first… (Show more)

I have a lot of goals for my future that require a lot of planning, strategy, and patience. For example: I'm a writer and, as you know, it can take years just to finish the first draft of a body of work. But I find myself constantly getting distracted by social media for no other reason than the shot of dopamine, or frustrated with the slog of writing -- even though I'm passionate about it -- just because it doesn't come with a big shot of endorphins the way other, less fulfilling activities might. How do I stop this craving for instant gratification from getting in the way of achieving my goals?

28

Why we care so much about what others think?

Why most of the times we’re more concerned on how something looks for others rather than how it does for us? Why are we deeply trapped into this external judgement dependancy?

26

You emphasize in your book and articles the importance of saying and hearing NO in healthy relationships. How do I know if I'm a selfish asshole who says no too often?

25

How do I start over after feeling like I lost it all?

I lost my home/city, relationship, and I'm separated from my friends. I realize I have to move on, but to what? It's just not possible for me have what I had. How do I find a… (Show more)

I lost my home/city, relationship, and I'm separated from my friends. I realize I have to move on, but to what? It's just not possible for me have what I had. How do I find a way to be happy without the shadow of that former and better life? I'm 38, feel and look a lot younger. I feel like I should have something good to live for.

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