The loss of love was the inspiration for her book on surviving a pandemic.

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Photo by Kunal Shinde on Unsplash

“Let us live for each other and for happiness; let us seek peace in our dear home, near the inland murmur of streams, and the gracious waving of trees, the beauteous vesture of earth, and sublime pageantry of the skies. Let us leave ‘life,’ that we may live.” — Mary Shelley

Let us live for each other and for happiness. When she penned those words in 1826, Mary Shelley was emerging from one of the toughest periods of her existence. The early death of her three children, and losing the love of her life, weighted heavily on her soul. …

If you really want to succeed, take everything with a grain of salt.

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Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash

A few years ago, I met up with a friend for a drink. We ordered two beers and started chatting. Always a junkie for the latest fad, he updated me on his last shopping spree.

“Dude, I just bought 10 pairs of the same black turtleneck,” he said looking excited.

I grew puzzled: “Why would you do that?”

Perching himself up, he stated matter-of-factly: “That’s what Steve Jobs used to do. He just bought several pairs of the same clothes. That way he could save time in the morning not having to choose what to wear. Time is money, man!”

Mental tricks Viktor Frankl used to survive in the direst of circumstances revealed for the first time.

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Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

On that fateful day in 1942, Viktor’s life came crashing down. Deported to a Nazi concentration camp, his existence was reduced to its mere essence. The former doctor and psychiatrist became just a number.

Frankl later wrote that such an experience strips away all the outer layers of a human being. What remains is the bare individual. Nothing else. Certainty that he used to have was lost. Never knowing how long he would live, he was forced to take things by the minute.

The money, power, or fame in a person’s previous life didn’t mean a thing in such circumstances…

I learned that comedy is the key to overcoming life’s troubles.

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The cast of “Seinfeld”

“If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” — Jerry Seinfeld

In his book “Is This Anything?”, Jerry Seinfeld recounted the very first joke that ever got him a laugh on stage. He poked fun at one of his characteristic features: his left-handedness. Being a natural leftie in a world made for righties, the future comedy star suffered through a lot of anguish growing up. While many people become bitter after similar situations, Jerry decided to turn his experience into a joke.

“So, I am left handed. Left-handed people do not like that…

Relationships in the past were as messed up as those of today, just in a different way.

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Ancient Roman art (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Tabloids in today’s world are filled with stories of scandals involving politicians, celebrities, or even ordinary people. It was no different in the ancient world. Human nature doesn’t really change, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that similar behavior was happening in the past. Relationships in the past were just as messed up as those of today, just in a different way.

Decadence was blamed for the fall of the Roman Republic by ancient historians. Modern historians, such as Edward Gibbon, have pointed at decadence as one of the factors involved in the fall of the Roman Empire that followed…

How to find the hidden joys that are often overlooked.

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Photo by Rampal Singh on Unsplash

“There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” — Albert Camus

My Moment of Clarity

We had made it into camp with some time still to spare. Tired, after a strenuous day of hiking up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro, I thought I was going to slump into the tent and collapse. However, a strange energy overcame me, and I wanted to explore.

The day had originally started many hours earlier at the stroke of midnight. After not being able to sleep at all, giddy with excitement and dread at the same time, I forced myself out of my sleeping bag. …

Applying lessons from the past to make sense of today’s chaos.

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Photo by USGS on Unsplash

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
Margaret Fuller

In the past few years, our societies have been shaken up by a series of events, and put on an uncertain trajectory. We have seen a pandemic paralyze the world. Huge forest fires have engulfed places as far away as the Amazon, Australia, California, or Siberia. At the beginning of 2021, we have even witnessed the invasion of the US Capitol by an enraged mob. It seems as if things are spiraling out of control.

Everyone is asking questions.

  • Where will this lead?
  • Will democracy survive?
  • What about all the destruction…

Learning from the successes and failures of Elon Musk.

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Photo by Tech Nick on Unsplash

“You shouldn’t do things differently because they are different. They need to be…better.” — Elon Musk

Tesla Motors has been making splashes lately. Thanks to its 700 billion US dollar market valuation, Elon Musk has officially become the world’s richest man. Yet, it could have been different.

I really didn’t want to be CEO of Tesla,” stated Musk during a recent interview. He had already taken up Space-X, and his sights were set on Mars. However, the former founder of Paypal also liked solving problems on Earth.

Investing into an electric car startup, his initial approach was to be hands…

Have you ever wondered why people do the things they do?

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Photo by Laura Dewilde on Unsplash

Other humans. They are sources of our happiness. They are sources of our sorrows. Yet, do we really understand why they behave the way they do? Human behavior has always been a subject that has fascinated me. There have been many times in my life when I just had to shake my head, not comprehending why someone did what they did.

Yet, people doing things is what shapes current events. When the economy crashed in 2008, it was due to human factors. When Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon, there were deep seated psychological reasons at play. …

Beware of advice, including this one.

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Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

“Beware of advice — even this.” — Carl Sandburg

Successful people are often used as examples for others to emulate. The message you usually hear is that if you do things like them, you too can conquer the world. Follow what they do, act like them, and riches beyond your wildest imagination will come knocking at your door.

Yet, is it true? Lately I have been thinking a lot about the types of lessons you can draw from these cases. Are there relevant things you can pick out and use as blueprints for your life? …

Peter Burns

Peter is extremely curious and wants to know how everything works. He blogs at Renaissance Man Journal (

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