Rationality should be rigid, but often it is warped by fear.

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There are few forces in the human mind capable of contorting reason further than cowardice. The elasticity of justification is tested to its outermost range by those impelled by fear. There is no more persuasive force than the convincing whisper of apprehension.

A free-floating conclusion, in search of a bridge to some logical foundation, never fails to construct even the most tenuous connection, if sufficiently incentivized by fear. Logic is without aim. It moves in the sole direction that its structure allows. Fear, however, always has a destination it strives to reach. …


Principles are our sole guide through chaos.

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A person’s life is, in its totality, a large structure made of small decisions. We are called upon each day to make choices; often with so little awareness of what will come of them, we’re functionally choosing at random. When it comes to particularly high-stakes decisions, we’re further blinded by emotionality. In times like these, our mind is like a stormy sea, everything is unsteady, and, as soon as we believe we’ve found our footing atop a firm decision, a wave of doubt crashes over us. …


As writers, we tend to take our craft very, very seriously. Here are some reasons to relax.

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Caring too much

I, like you, care way too much about what I say in my writing. There isn’t a writer alive who doesn’t know the feeling of toying with a good piece of writing so much, in hopes of making it better, that you end up ruining it. To quell my anxiety, I wanted to delve into the question of whether I should care so much, and I found a lot of reasons why we should all care a little less.

The underappreciated first draft

It can be difficult to get things just right in a first draft, but there is an important aspect of our…


Shame alone endures.

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Though all bodies decay, whether it be rotting plant matter or decomposing flesh, there is a single example of everlasting freshness in that pungent spice of shame. The feeling of pride tends towards ephemerality. Like sand through a sifter, the happiness following accomplishment quickly dissipates.

However, an embarrassing memory, even from childhood, never fails to renew the chagrin it first carried in its wake. It is followed by a restrained shiver and a feeling of hollowness, as if a pit formed in my center, when I recollect my past failings. …


Are some love languages better indicators of real love than others?

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Anybody who has spent a significant amount of time on a dating app has probably heard of “the 5 love languages.” In case you’re one of those who says their love language is “pizza” or “Spanish,” let’s first discuss what the 5 love languages actually are.

The 5 love languages were originally discussed by an author and radio talk show host by the name of Gary Chapman. They represent the various ways people communicate their love for one another. They are: (1) words of affirmation, (2) quality time, (3) acts of service, (4) physical touch, and (5) receiving gifts. People…


Courage is rarely what it seems.

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They say pain is subjective, which may be more clearly stated as: There is no way to know the intensity of the emotion or sensation someone else is experiencing. We act as if some are, by their will and effort, more courageous than others. Yet, we hold simultaneously that bravery doesn’t exist in the absence of fear. If bravery is not measured by an observable act, but by the ability to push through an unobservable emotion, how can we measure one’s bravery?

Let us enlist for a thought experiment two subjects: One is shaky, nervous, and readily frightened, and the…


Mystery and deception are necessary ingredients in love.

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A menagerie of lies

Love asks more of a person than they can ever do. Love asks more of a person than they can ever be. For this, love requires lies.

There are lies of glamour: We spend extra time getting ready to maintain in our lover’s mind the impression that we always look so put together. We dress up our behavior and cosmeticize our flaws to convince them we’re just a little bit better than we actually are. The early stages of love are all finery.

Is romance not but an act of persuasion? Fancy restaurants and fancy dress, witty retorts and incisive…


Why do we relish our anger when it is the cause of so much malice?

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There is a trichotomy within our emotional system, so that any perceived threat is reacted to by either fear, anger, or sadness. If a threat is both inescapable and insuperable, we become saddened and resigned to our fate. If a threat is insuperable but can possibly be escaped from, we become scared and flee. If a threat is capable of being overcome, we feel anger. Anger, then, is a privilege.

Whenever one feels anger, in the place of fear or sadness, it is because they perceive their own power as sufficient to match the threat before them. It is for…


We’re no different than our ancestors.

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My father knew his father, and his father knew his, so that by a chain, rusted but unbroken, I am connected to that distant past, which, so often seeming like a thing imagined, requires me to remind myself: “The past did exist.” Each generation looked into the eyes of the one that followed, and the one that preceded, and though after repeated successions each becomes only distant, unmet relatives, they all existed with the exact intricacy and vibrancy of life that belongs to us today. They too felt at the center of their world and saw the far-off future and…


The more you give, the more they ask for.

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There are people who, afflicted by a particularly tempestuous emotionality, believe that every problem they come up against is of the upmost importance, and should be treated as such by all of their relations. They develop a habit of crisis. Every encounter with them includes the telling of a tale of woe, wherein they are helpless and without solution, except by someone else’s intervention.

The same emotionality, which justifies the never-ending begging, does indeed lead one to ruin, repeatedly and unavoidably, so the predicaments they find themselves in are truly difficult to overcome. Every story has its veracity. Yet, what…

Martin Vidal

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

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