What it felt like, as a teenager, watching drugs ravage my home and lead to an overdose

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When I was 16, my mom told me she had starting dating someone new. I hadn’t heard anything about him prior to this. She said he was a good deal younger than her and had been working as a waiter, but having lost his job, he’d be coming to stay with us for a while. She also said he had had problems with drug addiction but was now clean. His youth, unemployment, and difficulties with addiction all made me wary, but I was going through a philosophical awakening at the time — having just recently discovered the writings of Friedrich…

A short guide to bridging the gap between quantitative and qualitative change

cardboard cut outs of the continents and an open lock
cardboard cut outs of the continents and an open lock
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I was recently discussing innovation with friends, and one contended that 10x improvement equals qualitative change. In other words, if something becomes 10x faster, or stronger, or just better, it becomes something else entirely. This article is an exploration of that statement. (That same friend, Robert Hacker, also has a great article on combinatory creativity that introduced me to the concept, which plays a large role in the discussion to follow.)

The Three Forms of Creativity

Whatever we create has its basic elements. These “elements” can be anything. A piece of art might consist of paint and canvas. A computer consists of CPU, hard drive…

Our idea of people is saturated with cynicism, but where are all these terrible people we speak of?

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There is a subject which is perhaps more discussed than any other, but whenever this subject arises there seems to be a break between how we conceive of it and how we actually experience it. That subject is other people. It is often said, “Well, that’s just how people are,” or “You can’t trust people.” There is this idea of “people” that is both nondescript and dark. It is a hazy conceptualization, and it seems to be colored with more human failings than virtues.

Yet, I believe that if I were to give to each reader a structured survey, and…

Ownership of our autonomy is essential.

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Each of us lives our life, and we are at the center of our world. Compared to ourselves, we cannot so intimately understand any other being in existence. Every other person is but a speck or a part; I am the only person who I have been given access to in full. …

Vanity is to pride as appearance is to substance.

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One is to be; the other is to appear as such. All are allowed to be silently great. The Himalayas and the Niagaras are not begrudged their majesty, but only because they are wordless in their glory. They simply are what they are; they do not speak of being so. We should learn the lessons of mum nature.

Every wealthy person is admired and applauded, except for two reasons. The first is that they have gained their wealth by unsavory and unearned ways. All who begin life with a surplus of wealth by their family name also begin life with…

Why one is often ganged up on when introducing friends to friends

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It is a sign of closeness and being comfortable in a relationship to playfully insult a person. Best friends often speak to one another as if they were the worst of enemies, but betraying their true intent with a mischievous grin and playful tone, they laugh about it in unison a few seconds later.

When one person is friends with two others, but those two are not acquainted with each other, there is an interesting psychological response that comes with their interactions. When the two meet, they tend to deride the mutual friend. It is as if they’re making displays…

There are some people who can never be alone.

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There is a class of hyper-social people that have some restlessness in them that keeps them from ever wanting to be alone. There is a psychological specter that creeps in whenever they’re in solitude, so they use others to ward it off. We all use others to shield us from loneliness, but these individuals are avoiding something more.

Most of us can offer ourselves agreeable company for a time, and some of us enjoy our own company more than any other’s. But this type of person finds something sorely dissatisfying in the time they spend with themselves. Often, it is…

Faith is the foundation on which all things are built.

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There is a single mental quality that will determine a person’s fate in this life beyond any other: faith. I have no desire to suggest that the wants, beliefs, and imaginings of the mind transfer themselves into real-world outcomes. Rather, I wish only to contend that the sole linchpin of the psychological system at work in the human mind is faith.

If the most important virtues in personal efficacy are patience, persistence, confidence, gratitude, and self-control, we find that each of these are flowers on the tree of faith. The connection to patience is clear, for one is in no…

If it is part of self, how is it I have to work to control it?

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Each of us lives our life under the encumbrance of our own imperfection. We try to resist and change something in the core of us, which we feel so strongly should be ours to manipulate as freely as we wish. And yet, we have a knotted bundle of wants and desires, emotions and thoughts, swirling about in us (and us in it), pulling us hither and thither like a storm.

One wants to lose weight but craves cake; one wants to be fit but cannot summon the motivation for exercise; we seek to resist those who damage us but love…

Perhaps weakness isn’t a failing.

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Everywhere I look I see sensitivity. I see quivering ripples, trembling blades of grass, and shivering flames. The human soul, too, is an airy, delicate structure. Everything affects it, and it is moved by every breeze. It is lifted to joy or dealt injuries by accidents and chance. There is no tissue more easily scarred than the human heart. Every eye has behind it a vault of pain. To become an adult is to harden into some emotionally disfigured and shelled thing, from wounds largely inflicted upon us as supple youths.

We forget what we once were. It is in…

Martin Vidal

I put the “me” in Medium. • Author of “The Ambition Handbook: A Guide for Ambitious Persons” • Instagram: @martinvidalofficial

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