Menu Close

Author / Eric Johnson

By-the-way happiness

“Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.” […]

Purpose

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” –Robert Louis Stevenson The only competition that matters is the competition between the version of who you are now and the version of you that you can become. How is the you one year from […]

Good Government

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.” –Michel de Montaigne Good for Montaigne. He certainly had the right idea, and I don’t doubt that he had more success than the average person in governing himself and avoiding the futility of worrying over things outside his control. How simple it is to understand that […]

Baffled, amazed, undone

“If we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention.” –Ben Marcus Perhaps we are sleepwalking through life, trudging obliviously through the pattern we’ve grooved and smoothed to protect ourselves from the unevenness, from the surprises of reality. […]

Delete yo’ self: Aziz Ansari’s unconnected life

This recent GQ interview with Aziz Ansari highlight’s the comedian’s unconventional approach to the Information Age. The interviewer seems incredulous as he comprehends just how much of an outlier Ansari is: I heard you deleted the Internet from your phone. And that you deleted Twitter and Instagram and e-mail. No way that’s true, right? It […]

The serendipity of discovery

“I can’t begin to tell you the things I discovered while I was looking for something else.” –Shelby Foote Same here. This describes most careers, most love stories and deep friendships, and probably the bulk of the greatest ideas and discoveries. Looking for something else, but found this wonder instead. It’s such a delight to […]

Make something wonderful

I’m a sucker for an Apple product announcement. Yesterday’s event inaugurated the Steve Jobs Theater at the new Apple campus. The theater looks stunningly gorgeous, as you would expect from the world’s most prominent design-centric company. The products announced were almost overshadowed by the venue and by the touching tribute that opened the keynote. The […]

Defying gravity

I get The Daily Stoic daily email. Today’s email quoted this passage from Walker Percy’s book, The Moviegoer: “I don’t know quite what we’re doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I […]

Darwin’s plodding path to brilliance

I filed away this Farnam Street article and just now read it. It’s a great take on what made Charles Darwin such a transformational thinker. In short, Darwin wasn’t gifted with an off-the-charts IQ. He was no Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. But he could focus intently on minute details and stick with an idea for a very […]

Wired for story

“After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” –Philip Pullman Humans are wired for story. It’s what knitted us together into a tribal species and ended up being a key to our eventual dominance of the planet. We built our culture on stories, useful fictions that allowed us […]

What I’m listening to and reading

I recently listened to some fascinating interviews: Shane Parrish interviewed Naval Ravikant on Parrish’s podcast, The Knowledge Project. Ravikant is thoughtful and interesting and candid and often counterintuitive. And Parrish is a solid interviewer. He sets a good pace and does a nice job of facilitating and keeping the focus on the interviewee. Tyler Cowen […]

Expanding frontier of ignorance

It’s just up ahead. So close. My destination. Finally. I’m there. But… turns out… There is no there there. Only more questions, more unknowns that I didn’t know I didn’t know. It will always be such. I’ll never get there. If I keep at it, the depths of my ignorance will only keep growing. Questions […]

Invincible

“Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.” –Epictetus, Discourses 1.18.21 (I came across this while catching up on my reading of The Daily Stoic, which has become a delightfully bracing start to most of my mornings.)  I had an interpersonal communication class in college where I […]

The true country of a virtuous soul

“To a wise man, the whole earth is open, because the true country of a virtuous soul is the entire universe.” –Democritus This is from a fascinating essay on Aeon.co about the atomic theory’s ancient origins and the ultimate impact of that theory on our perception of the universe and our place in it. We are […]

Take your stand right here, right now

Meditations 7.45: “It’s like this, gentlemen of the jury: The spot where a person decides to station himself, or wherever his commanding officer stations him—well, I think that’s where he ought to take his stand and face the enemy, and not worry about being killed, or about anything but doing his duty.” Marcus Aurelius just […]

Raw materials

I routinely forget to celebrate the arrival of unwanted circumstances that are beyond my control. I need to remind myself that external events which I perceive to be happening to me are actually raw materials that I can use in my endeavor to craft a more excellent life. I can utilize events out of my control to […]

Ten years later: iPhone’s impact

Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone on this day ten years ago during his 2007 Macworld keynote. I remember watching the recorded keynote later at home on my beloved first Mac (the adorable white iMac G4*). I sat enthralled watching Jobs masterfully and with obvious glee unveil the never-before-seen features of this new device. I gasped along […]

Older Posts