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Posts tagged "Self-Improvement"

'Never Stop Improving' and the Myth of Ontological Change

‘Never Stop Improving’ and the Myth of Ontological Change

There is a moving box sitting on the floor of our dining room. This box has been taunting me since the day we moved. Emblazoned on the side of the box is a simple corporate slogan that constantly cuts me to the core:

Never stop improving.

This is where we find ourselves in 2018. Our culture is so beholden to the god of progress that we must improve every area of our lives, all the time. There is always a project around the house that needs to be done. There is always a personal habit that could be optimized or…

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Lifelogging Mediocrity and The Quantified Self

Lifelogging Mediocrity and The Quantified Self

They’re calling 2014 “The Year of the Wearable” in the tech world. Love or hate Google glass, it seems as if wearable tech is in the future- if not for us, then perhaps for our kids. Smart watches want to replace your smart phone. Smart wristbands want to track all your steps and exercise movements. Over 100 apps exist to quantify the quality of your sleep. There’s even a tiny camera that you can clip to your shirt pocket that takes photos every five seconds and uploads the photos to your social network of choice. It used to be that…

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Obesity, Freedom, and the Limits of Willpower

Obesity, Freedom, and the Limits of Willpower

Over at Aeon Magazine, a tremendously insightful essay was published a couple of weeks ago on the rising obesity trend – one that’s gone way beyond America, and one whose potential solutions are fast becoming a major policy issue for governments, as well as a booming industry (soon to become a trillion-dollar one, McKinsey & Co reported). And at The New York Times, Stephanie Clifford chimes in on how little impact health-related labeling and advertising actually has. Of course, people unhelpfully tend to define the problems in terms of a deficiency in willpower, and so attempts to address it cluster around…

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Another Week Ends: Underconfidence, Kate Middleton's Picnics, Unreported Medical Advice, D.H. Lawrence's Christian Wonder, the Double-Bind of Summer Movies, More Christian Wiman, and (Way) Too Much Sociology

Another Week Ends: Underconfidence, Kate Middleton’s Picnics, Unreported Medical Advice, D.H. Lawrence’s Christian Wonder, the Double-Bind of Summer Movies, More Christian Wiman, and (Way) Too Much Sociology

1. How confident are you? Over at The New York Times, David Brooks surveyed his readers to get a sense for self-confidence, lack thereof, and the ways males and females experience confidence differently. While the word itself is a bit vague and murky, and Brooks found few trends in the survey data, the individual responses are definitely worth a look:

But it was really hard to see consistent correlations and trends. The essays were highly idiosyncratic, and I don’t want to impose a false order on them that isn’t there. Let me just string together some of the interesting points…

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Never-Enoughs, Good-Enoughs and Self-Improvement Junkies

Never-Enoughs, Good-Enoughs and Self-Improvement Junkies

A revealing piece by Alina Tugend in The NY Times, “Self-Improvement, at the Risk of Self-Acceptance,” tracing our collective obsession with growth and self-help, and how the Occupy movement might signal a much-needed reaction against American aspiration imperatives. While the political/ideological ramifications of her observations are still very much up for debate – Lord knows there’s plenty of basis for skepticism re: OWS – Ms. Tugend is nonetheless wise to draw attention to both the addictive aspect and illusory future-orientation of self-improvement culture. Which is not to say you can lump every “system” into the easy target of self-help (contrary…

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