Now reading:

Why We Hold On to Bad Beliefs

Audio Version

Why We Hold On to Bad Beliefs

In the mid-1800s, surgeons were wrestling with two problems that had plagued medicine for centuries. First, surgeries were incredibly painful for patients. So painful that, after hearing they needed surgery to survive a life-threatening injury or disease, a lot of people chose to commit suicide instead.

There’s an excellent episode of RadioLab that covers a brief history of anesthesia and how, to this day, we’re still not really sure how it works.

But then, in 1846 a dentist named William Morton discovered a gas that rendered his patients temporarily unconscious and unable to feel pain. It was a miracle for medicine.

Morton shared his findings with the world in November of 1846, and a mere eight months later, in June of 1847, anesthesia was being used in surgery rooms throughout most of the world.

The second major problem facing surgeons at that time was that many of the surgeries they performed led to fatal infections. This was not only gruesome, but it was also bad for business: dead people tend to not pay their hospital bills.

Mid-1800s surgery scene

But by the 1860s, an English surgeon named Joseph Lister had the amazing idea that maybe you should wash your hands before …

Hey, sorry to interrupt…

I know you were reading that and getting all into it, but I’ve got to stop you here for a second. Because you seem to have somehow stumbled onto a subscriber-only article, and I hate to say it, but this shit ain't free.

(Already a member? Log in here.)

See, I write a bunch of big long sexy articles for everybody, those are probably some of the articles that you know and love. They are big and beautiful and long and full of funny cat GIFs. But sometimes when I want to diverge into a niche topic or dive deep on a specific problem my readers are having, I write something exclusively for my subscribers. Like this one.

You can read this extra content yourself too. You just have to subscribe. It's easy and takes 30 seconds and you get access to all sorts of cool stuff like...

Support the site and get access to the following:

  • All the no-bullshit insights, new perspectives and poop jokes I have to offer. You get instant access to all articles on the site, including the 40+ exclusive subscriber-only articles.
  • Listen on the go. I record audio versions of all articles, as well as audio commentaries with backstories and research. Members can stream and download all of them, so if you've ever wanted to hear me talk about Kant during a flight, this is your moment.
  • Improve your relationships, conquer your fears, and build a better life. Once upon a time, I created a number of professionally-made, online video courses about relationships, anxiety and social skills. I sold them for $29.95 per month each, but now these and more are all included in the subscription:

    The membership includes 6 courses to improve your life:

    • Dating & Relationships Course – Get insights about how to build a healthy and lasting relationship. 10 high-quality video lessons, with exercises.
    • Connection Course – Learn how to become better at social interactions and have deeper conversations, leading to more fulfilling connections. 11 high-quality video lessons with exercises.
    • Overcome Anxiety Course – Understand the root of your anxiety, and then overcome it. Using concepts from the most successful form of therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy. 8 high-quality video lessons with exercises.
    • Blogging & Writing Course – A collection of videos, articles and other materials about my approach to writing and blogging. Recommended for people who are looking to start a book or blog themselves.
    • Escape Plan: The Long-Term Travel Course – An extensive written course for people who want to travel long-term, but don’t know how yet. Create your own Escape Plan tailored to your budget and travel goals.
    • Build a Better Life Course – A system I use to figure out what I want out of life, and how to get there. It's helped me to get where I am now. I recommend doing it at least once a year.
  • Ask me anything videos – As a member you can ask me any question and upvote other members' questions. A couple times a year I answer the best and most-upvoted questions in my AMA videos, exclusively available to site members.
  • 5 Awesome Ebooks, which go in-depth on topics like Self-Knowledge, Relationships, Habits and Happiness are instantly emailed to you after signing up.
  • Exclusive events and meet-ups like exclusive post-show meet-ups for members during my book tours.
  • One day I will buy a member a free taco. I don’t know who it will be, or where, or when, but hey, it could be you!

Subscribing costs less than a cup of coffee in some places. And it’s what allows me to feed myself in between writing amazing shit for you. So please, feed me.

Join my newsletter and get a free ebook
"3 Ideas to Change Your Life"
Privacy Policy | Close: Don't show this again