Better Yourself: Five Steps to Becoming Exceptional

A while back I wrote an article on the human tendency to think we’re above average. In it, I made the obvious point that we can’t all be above average — that doesn’t make sense. This is called the optimism bias. However — even if you can’t know whether you’re above average or not — […]

You’re Not ‘Bad With Names,’ You’re Just Not Using Your Memory Creatively

This past weekend, I attended a function of the highest prestige: the launch party for The Campaign for UC Santa Barbara, an event that celebrated the new phase of funding to further UCSB’s impact in the academic and research world. I say attended, but I really mean I gate-crashed. I found out about it, dressed […]

The Paradox of Choice: Minimizing the Margin of Regret (Why Too Many Choices Are Not Always a Good Thing)

Too many choices — the problem with Baskin-Robbins and why In-N-Out is awesome. Baskin-Robbins is a wonderful little ice cream parlor chain. Also known as “31 Flavors,” it was my ice cream shop of choice as a toddler. Since then, I’ve seen many a Baskin-Robbins close, and it seems that their strength in the ice […]

The Truth About Attitude: Why Happiness Is a Decision, Not An Outcome

If we’re being real with ourselves (which we are, by the way), forgoing the free will/determinism argument, we can agree that most of our lives are ruled by randomness. You are a great example, dear reader — you love Santa Barbara, you made the best friends, you’ve had the greatest experience ever, you would’ve hated […]

When Brains Go Autopilot, It’s Time to Take the Wheel

How often do you argue? All you trim-bearded philosophy majors can go ahead and wipe that superior smirk off your face, please … Yes, you took a class on logic, now stop talking to me. The truth is that we’re arguing constantly — yes, we argue with each other, but most arguing goes on continually, […]

The Distinction Between Genuine Kindness and Excellent Acting

What is it about someone telling you to be nice that makes you want to punch them in the face? We’ve all been there — making fun of someone for something they did, hating a girl because she’s prettier than you. It seems that we do these things instinctually, automatically pushing other people down on […]

Lessons on Skepticism, Learned From a Life of Magic

Growing up, I believed a lot of ridiculous things. For example, I convinced myself that the force was real for a while after watching “Star Wars” — the movie, obviously, was exaggerated, but there were people out there in our world (I imagined Indian men on street corners in India busking by levitating pennies) who […]

Body Language of Liars: How the Face and Feet Can Reveal a Fibber

A few short weeks ago, I wrote an article that leads up to this second part on lying. To have a more complete understanding of the things we do verbally to mask our inevitable lies, I would refer you to that previous article. This week I’ll talk to you about the ways in which we […]

The Truth Is, We’re All a Bunch of Damn Liars … So Learn How to Spot the Ways of Our Trade

Someone tells you something … And you are given the daunting task of figuring out if they are telling the truth or not. Do you listen to them? Are they right? Are they wrong? Do they believe they are being honest, or are they lying? The ability to detect deception is universally important, and although […]

It’s All About Choices: Use Your Power Wisely

Decisions. We all have to make them, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. And, as time will cruelly prove, we never know if these are the right choices until after we’ve already acted. In order to make decisions, we weigh the predicted possible positive outcomes with the predicted possible negative outcomes. And therein lies […]

Fight the Evolutionary Urge to Be Ruthlessly Selfish

We live on this lovely Earth blissfully unaware, most of the time, of the unique position we find ourselves in. We live mostly unimpeded by the rules and laws that so hindered our ancestors; we live in the time of the universe with the most prosperity. Life is pretty good for us. Except it’s not. […]

A Regular Sleep Schedule Solidifies Your Chances of Success

Let’s be real. Everybody loves sleep. That isn’t our problem. Our problem is the difficulty of having a structurally sound and solid sleeping pattern. Sleep is a vital ingredient to winning at college, and just like the neglected benefits of having great nutrition, it importance is widely ignored on college campuses across the U.S. Sleeping […]

The Information Age: Avoid the Junk, Consume Correctly

It seems we’ve come to a point where people are afraid of silence. We are afraid of being stagnant, being alone, being still. These may be inherent insecurities within all of us, but I’m here to suggest otherwise. We are in a still new era: the Information Age. This age brings a lot of promise; […]

Don’t Let That First World Problem Get You Down: Why You’re Bored and What You Can Do About It

As a student here at UCSB, life is tough. Sometimes we fall off our bikes; maybe we lose our favorite headphones. Maybe we get sad because we don’t have any friends, or it’s raining, or we’re pissed because that last grade wasn’t nearly high enough — we deserved better! On the other hand, sometimes life […]

You’re Just Another Character in Someone Else’s Story

Who is your favorite person in the whole world, in all of history, of anybody that has ever, or will ever, exist? You know the answer, I promise you. And even if you don’t believe it, trust me, it’s true. Think really hard on it. Strain yourself, make some faces … Okay, calm down, people […]