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Practical Magic is one of the greatest films of all time. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman play sisters in one generation of many generations in an old witch family. The family is cursed that whenever an Owen’s woman falls in love, the object of her affection will perish. Beautiful, beautiful shenanigans ensue.

Practical Magic

If you’re a fan of the movie, get your midnight margaritas ready because HBO just announced a Practical Magic prequel series!!!

Practical Magic

The one hour drama series will be based on author Alice Hoffman’s prequel to her Practical Magic book called Rules of Magic. It will follow the aunts (Franny and Jett) in 1960’s NYC along with their brother, Vincent. They siblings will learn of their magical ancestry and come to terms with their powers. We may even see them eventually move out of the city and into the magical home we saw in Practical Magic.

Practical Magic

No word on when the project will be ready to air, but as it has not been cast yet, it will be at least 2020. Luckily there are plenty of horror projects coming out this year to tide us over.


“It requires time and energy to get invested in other people’s stories, but I do in my heart of hearts believe that you emerge a better and smarter human as a result of taking that time.”
— Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling (@lisaling) is the host and executive producer of the CNN Original Series This Is Life with Lisa Ling. It returns for its sixth season on Sunday, September 29 at 10 p.m. ET. In each episode, Lisa immerses herself in communities across America giving viewers an inside look at some of the most unconventional segments of society. In 2017, the series won a Gracie Award.

Lisa is also host of the CNN Digital series This Is Sex with Lisa Ling, which explores the taboos around sex in America and This Is Birth with Lisa Ling, which explores how healthcare legislation, income inequality and cultural shifts shape how people have children in America.

Before coming to CNN, Lisa was a field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC News’ Nightline and National Geographic’s Explorer. She has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India, and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored.

Lisa got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age. She later went on to become a co-host of ABC Daytime’s hit show The View, which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show.

Lisa has also served as a special correspondent for CNN’s Planet in Peril series and is a contributing editor for USA Today’s USA Weekend magazine. In 2011, her acclaimed documentary journalism series Our America with Lisa Ling began airing on OWN.

Lisa is the co-author of Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood and Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, which she penned with her sister Laura. In 2014, President Obama named Lisa to the Commission on White House Fellows.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#388: Lisa Ling — Exploring Subcultures, Learning to Feel, and Changing Perception

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This podcast is also brought to you by the Wondery network’s Business Wars. Hosted by David D. Brown, former anchor of the Peabody award-winning public radio business program Marketplace, Business Wars shares the untold and very real stories of what goes on behind the scenes with the leaders, investors, and executives that take businesses either to new heights or utter ruin.

I suggest starting with the latest series, “WWF vs WCW.” It’s a pretty epic one filled with all your colorful cast of wrestling characters—Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and others. You can search for Business Wars on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider, or you can just go directly to to start listening right now.

Want to hear an episode with another journalist who got an early start? — Listen to my conversation with Ezra Klein in which we discuss influencing the rules of the game by which this country is run, how Ezra lost 60 pounds, and his ascension into the ranks of the most respected media companies in the world (stream below or right-click here to download):

#208: Ezra Klein — From College Blogger to Political Powerhouse

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Lisa Ling:

This Is Life with Lisa Ling | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added very soon.

  • Lisa touches on her motivation for pursuing journalism and the path that led to her becoming a correspondent in Afghanistan as a fresh-faced 21-year-old with Anderson Cooper as her colleague in the early ’90s.
  • As someone who hadn’t done much traveling prior to this experience, what was Lisa’s impression of Afghanistan and her first few days there?
  • How does Lisa cope with the emotional toll taken by being in proximity to the worst aspects of humanity, and does getting close to her subjects ever backfire?
  • Lisa details one particularly heartbreaking interview with a girl who had been sold into commercial sexual exploitation — and how her subject was the one who consoled her and her team.
  • What Lisa hopes people take away from her work, and why she really loves what she does.
  • Coming from a family that wasn’t particularly communicative, how did Lisa train herself to feel and discuss emotions more openly? How did learning to open up affect her relationship with her mother, put her own situation in perspective, and ultimately make her a stronger reporter?
  • What did Lisa do to lay the groundwork that allowed her mother to finally connect and share her story for the first time? Why do Lisa and I urge listeners (particularly men) who have difficult relationships with their parents to similarly connect?
  • Knowing how it turned her own life around, how might Lisa suggest someone in need of therapy find the therapist who’s right for them?
  • What was Barbara Walters’ most valuable advice to Lisa when they worked together on The View, and how did Lisa go from someone who didn’t really want to have kids to becoming obsessed with the idea?
  • Was Lisa able to take Barbara’s advice at the time it was given, or did it take a while to sink in? Is there any other advice Lisa has received that she wasn’t able to take in the moment but only later realized its value?
  • After six seasons (and counting) of This Is Life, How hard does Lisa have to push to tell the stories she wants to tell?
  • Reflecting on the humanity-elevating and fund-raising power of Oprah, and Lisa’s satisfaction at raising awareness and understanding — of everything from cultural differences to gender fluidity — in her own way on her own show.
  • Lisa still has to remind herself to break out of her own bubble in order to understand the world and the people who live on the other side of it — even if those people are affiliated with MS-13.
  • What can we expect from the upcoming season six of This Is Life, and where and when can we catch it?
  • How does Lisa choose which subjects to pursue, and how many of her pitches get made into shows?
  • What parents need to know about their children’s access to pornography, why young people may not be able to separate the fantasy of pornography from its realities, and how one woman is crusading against artificial pornography by producing real sex videos for the masses.
  • Why the benzodiazepines episode has been the most difficult episode for Lisa to make this season, and what it tells us about a medical culture that’s quick to prescribe potentially addictive substances without having an escape plan when it’s time to kick them.
  • What we should all be doing more regularly when we’re prescribed medication of any kind.
  • What books has Lisa gifted or recommended most?
  • How to develop, flex, and maintain a healthy dose of empathy.
  • What would Lisa’s billboard say, and why would it serve as a reminder to herself as well as the world at large?
  • Parting thoughts.



If you or another person is in danger or experiencing an immediate crisis, use one of these resources now:

Resources for locating a therapist for in-person treatment:

Because insurance plays a big factor for many people who are searching for a provider, here are “find a doctor” pages for four of the largest healthcare providers in the US:

Online therapy apps (live sessions with human therapists, chat sessions, no in-person appointments.)

Wirecutter, a review website owned by The New York Times Company, provides recommendations in The Online Therapy Services We’d Use.

Disclaimer from the editor: Please carefully vet anyone with whom you may be sharing confidential information.

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The baggage they have from past relationships.


Their awkwardness.


What they look like naked.


The first impression they make when they walk into the room.


Their ability to hold a conversation.


Whether they’re fun enough, interesting enough, good enough.


How good their hair and makeup looks.


How long it takes them to orgasm.


Their laugh, their height, their weight.


Whether or not they appear intimidating.


Their flirting abilities.


Their dating history. TC mark


1. I’m in ultrasound. We do a hell of a lot more than just scanning pregnant people, but we get a lot of people who ask, “Is it a boy or a girl? HAHAHA” during abdominal and vascular studies.

2. Travel Money Bureau. Every time I’m checking if some notes are legit or not, it’s: “They should be fine. I printed them this morning.”

3. Mail carrier here. “You can keep the bills!” hur hur hur.

4. I’m a veterinarian. Some clients do actually say, “If you really loved animals, you’ll treat them for free right?”

5. Dentist: It hurts twice when I come here, the first time during the appointment and the second time when I take out my wallet.

6. I’m obligated to ask those visiting my work place if they have any weapons to declare.

“Just these guns!” Flex.

7. Selling lottery tickets. I’m like what numbers would you like? Everyone be like, “the winning ones.” Bruh.

8. Video production: Can you photoshop me to look thinner?

9. I work in IT. “Should I just… tUrN iT oFf AnD oN aGaIn?!” Yes, yes you should.

10. I recently went through US Customs and the officer asked me the standard “do you have cash more than $10,000 on you?” question.

I responded: “I wish! HURHURHUR”

Her response: “If I had a penny for everyone who cracked that joke in front of me, I’d have the $10,000 by now.”

…I totally deserved that.

11. As a nurse, almost any time I give anything remotely close to a painkiller/sedative to patient, the family says something along the lines of “CAN I haVE One tOo HyUcK HYUCK HYucK.”

12. I’m a singer! I went to college for music and have been doing it professionally for sometime now.

I usually get, “Omg my granddaughter’s cousin’s niece is a singer! You guys should meet up!” Or, “sing something for us!!” And then if I don’t feel up to it they say “how can you be a singer if you don’t want to sing in front of people?” I love it. 🙃

13. “So, what’s the matter with you?”

“You tell me, you’re the doctor!”

14. So you can give me the good stuff eh? Wink wink nudge nudge eh?

I’m a nurse not a cocaine dealer, also yes.

15. Waiter here. “Can I get you guys anything else?” “Yeah, a boatload of cash!”

16. If I can’t fix a random-ass problem on someone’s PC, I get “so do I get a new one hurr hurr” so often it hurts.

17. “Are you a beauty school dropout?” When I tell people I went to beauty school and worked in hair salons.

18. Former camgirl/stripper here. “I married the wrong girl, don’t tell my wife.” Really, anything followed by don’t tell my wife. Like literally every other guy I gave a lapdance or had a private show with HURR MY WIFE WOULD CONSIDER THIS CHEATING LOL. Fuck you.

19. Pizza delivery. If you happen to pass by anyone else at all on your way to the customer, they will say, “You can just leave that right here ha ha ha.”

20. Stripper here. Our version is definitely: “How about I give YOU a lapdance!”

21. I work in a nursing home and sometimes we have a resident that is constantly trying to leave and go home, because they don’t remember that they live there. The on going joke is someone asking, “Can’t we just tie them to a chair?” (No, we cant. Just for those of you who actually think that’s an option.)

22. As a teacher: Oh, you can’t find my paper, must mean I get a 100% on it.

23. Paramedic here, I ALWAYS get the old ladies saying, “Oh! My taxi!” Or “You coming back for me later?”

24. “I just want a BLACK. COFFEE. None of this crap-u-she-no chocolate unicorn frap-aye glitter shit. Just a medium black COFFEE. I don’t care what size you call it but whatever’s MEDIUM I want THAT.”

25. I work in an office, and the boss often leaves me in charge if he’s away. I have one co-worker who, every time I’m covering, will arrive in the morning and say, “Hi boss! Since you’re in charge— can we all go home now? Hurr hurr.”

26. At Starbucks, we have categories and buttons for all the drinks.

When we get a new drink, there is a new button but no one tells us where the button is. It is either in with normal lattes or frappuccinos or it’s under the seasonal category on the opposite side of the screen.

So when a customer orders a new or special drink, we go on a wild goose chase for the button that seems to not exist. The customers will say, “Oh you can’t find it? How about you make it and just let me take it.” My boss just tells us to ring them up for a basic drink and make the special one until the button is added.

The button is never added.

27. Work in payroll and people like to joke with me to add a 0 at the end of their pay. I say I’ll do it, but put one of their middle numbers onto mine and it’s funny to see their gears turning.

28. Research chemist. “Can you make drugs hehehe?”

Yes, yes I absolutely can. No, I will not. Go away.

29. I used to be in the beer industry (selling to supermarkets) and I’d get “you can just load that pallet into my truck” every day.

30. Cake decorator here – people would come pick up their orders and jokingly tell me I spelled the name on the cake incorrectly. They would watch me get upset with myself and offer to fix it, then tell me they were just kidding.

31. “So can you come look at my car?” – Mechanical Engineer. I know nothing about cars.

32. Bike (bicycle) messenger. Every year during the Tour De France: “You’re lost buddy?” All fucking day long.

33. I work in the Deaf community and people always see the name of the charity I work for and say “Pardon?” then laugh like they’re the funniest person in the world. Little bit of my soul dies every frickin’ time.

34. Vet tech here. Whenever I take a patient’s temperature: “Aren’t you going to at least buy her dinner first?”

35. “Giving out any free samples today?”

Sir, if I did that, it’s a bank robbery.

36. As a church musician, I’ve heard things like:

“How does it feel to have the largest organ in town?”

37. I work in a call center. I have to ask “was there anything else I could help you with” at the end of the call.

-“Yes bring me a coffee with that.”

-“Make the sun shine again.”

-“Yeah. What’s your number you have a sexy voice.”

I just ignore them now and wish them a good day.

38. “Are you analyzing me now?” – Psychologist.

The true answer is almost always, I am too apathetic about you to care that much. At least when it isn’t a patient.

39. Administrative worker here, not from customers, but from literally anyone that doesn’t work in an office, “So you get paid to do nothing?”

40. Stocked shelves at a grocery store for a few months in college and some guy was angry because he had been in line for a few minutes and no one was there to ring him up. He found me and asked what was going on and I kindly told him I’d go grab a cashier to check him out and he goes, “No it’s fine, I can just leave with my stuff. I mean, I don’t have to pay if no ones gonna wait on me,” or something like that. I laughed sarcastically with a deadpan face and told a cashier there were customers waiting.

They didn’t pay me enough to stop him if he tried. TC mark


October 1

Along Came a Spider

Along Came a Spider

A really great 90’s murder thriller in the Alex Cross series that was made as a sequel to the other great 90’s thriller Kiss the Girls. Definitely worth a watch!

House of the Witch

House of the Witch

A perfectly seasonal made-for-tv movie about a group of kids who try to spend the night in a haunted house on Halloween.

Scream 2

Scream 2

This means you’ll be able to watch Scream 1-4 all on Netflix. Time to plan an entire Scream-based movie weekend!

Sinister Circle

Sinister Circle

A ouija board horror movie you should watch while playing with a ouija board ;).

October 4

Creeped Out: season 2

Somehow I missed the first season of this but it looks like a pretty decent anthology horror show.

In the Tall Grass

A Stephen King and Joe Hill joint about some kids who get lost in tall grass and find a sinister force chasing them. It sounds a lot like King’s Children of the Corn but without the creepy religious factor.

October 11

Forest of Love

A fictional cult leader leads his followers down a grisly path. I hope it’s as good as Ti West’s The Sacrament


A Netflix original about a man whose family disappears from a strange hospital during what should have been a routine scan.

Haunted: season 2

Haunted: season 2

Season 2 of the surprisingly unsettling series about people recounting their paranormal experiences.

October 16th

Sinister 2

One of my favorite horror movies. A deeply unsettling plot about a haunted farmhouse and an abusive family.

October 25


A group of friends discovers their neighbors are being killed and replaced by dopplegangers.


A single mother makes a gruesome bargain to save her child’s life.


Sometimes, you won’t stay friends with your exes. Sometimes, you won’t even end on good terms with your exes. You might part ways never wanting to see each other again. You might end on a bad note where you’re both screaming and crying and blaming each other for mistakes that have been made.

Even though your relationship might have been perfect early on, you might not end up continuing your friendship after the romance dies. You might not be able to watch each other move on and date other people. You might not be able to last as just friends. And you might not even want to try.

Sometimes, relationships end on bad terms. Sometimes, the person you couldn’t imagine living life without is going to walk away without a glance back. Sometimes, you’re going to experience a hard switch from talking every single day to never speaking again.

That might sound depressing, but it’s not as bad as it seems. You’re always going to have your memories with this person. You’re never going to be able to take away what happened between the two of you in the past.

Unfortunately, sometimes, the only way to move on is to sever ties, to keep each other out of sight and out of mind. Sometimes, when you spend too much time together, you have trouble moving onto bigger and better things.

Even though there was a time when you assumed your relationship was going to last forever, sometimes, you’re only meant to remain in each other’s world for a short amount of time. Sometimes, you have to accept that your story has ended before either of you were ready.

As much as you miss your ex, you can’t force a friendship with them. You can’t expect them to be on board with the idea of hanging out on weekends when you’re no longer romantically involved. You can’t expect them to be cool with seeing you kiss other people, date other people, love other people. And you can’t expect yourself to be okay with that either.

You shouldn’t put yourself through hell to save your friendship. Loving them doesn’t mean you’re meant to stay in their life. If it hurts you to text them every single day when you know you’re never getting back together, then you should stop texting them. You shouldn’t place yourself in a situation you realize is unhealthy for you, just because you’re reluctant to walk away from them.

Saying goodbye to them now doesn’t mean saying goodbye to them forever. Sometimes, you both need a little bit of time to cool down after the breakup. Sometimes, you can make a friendship work after the dust settles and you both come to terms with what happened.

But other times, no matter how badly you miss each other, no matter how good of friends you were once upon a time, there’s no way you’re going to stay friends after the relationship ends. And that’s okay. That’s something you have to accept. TC mark


1. Get rid of your access to social media. Putting your phone on silent isn’t enough. Either put it in a drawer across the room or shut it down completely so you aren’t able to absentmindedly pick it up and open Twitter when boredom strikes. You should take the same precautions with your laptop. Even if you’re working over the internet and can’t step away from your screen, there are programs you can download in order to block your access to certain websites. That way, you’ll be able to stick to the task at hand instead of accidentally scrolling through Instagram from an hour.

2. Eliminate distractions, don’t add more. Music might help you concentrate. Or it might turn into a distraction. If you’re going to end up spending twenty minutes between each song, trying to pick out the perfect one, or end up singing along to the lyrics and getting sidetracked from your goals, then you probably shouldn’t put on a playlist. Instead, drown out the sounds around you by playing nature sounds or instrumentals. That way, you’ll still have something to listen to while you work, but it won’t become a time waster.

3. Work somewhere that makes sense. If you’re a people watcher who loves to eavesdrop, then you probably shouldn’t work at a coffee shop — or even a library. You need to work in a quiet, clean space where you aren’t going to get distracted every five seconds. That means you should try to find a place with a door that locks so your friends and family and even your adorable puppy can’t run in and distract you.

4. Write down your random thoughts. If you’re trying to focus on work, and then randomly remember you need to pay the bills by the end of the week or want to check to see who got sent home on the latest episode of The Bachelor, don’t switch tasks. Simply write down those items somewhere you’re going to remember to look. That way, you won’t forget about them, but you can focus on them after you’re finished focusing on the task at hand.

5. Put inspirational reminders where you need them the most. If you’re worried you’re going to check your phone when you should be working, change your home screen to a quote about working hard. It might stop you from answering texts when you’re supposed to be keeping focused. It might give you the extra motivation you need when you’re ready to slack. Likewise, if you’re worried you’ll keep hitting snooze in the morning, attach a reminder to your alarm about the early bird and the worm.

6. Schedule little breaks for yourself. Instead of stopping randomly to check your phone, set a scheduled break time for yourself. After you work for a certain amount of time, give yourself permission to scroll through social media or call your boyfriend or grab some snacks. That way, you can still break up your work day without feeling overwhelmed, but you won’t take advantage of your free time and waste valuable time. TC mark


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The following is a guest post from Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday). Ryan is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker and strategist and the author of many bestselling books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, and The Daily Stoic. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than two million copies worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family. You can follow him @ryanholiday or subscribe to his writing at and Ryan was also the fourth guest on the podcast, and he has written multiple popular guest posts for this blog. His new book, Stillness Is the Key, is coming out October 1st.

Enter Ryan…

The Buddhist word for it was upekkha. The Muslims spoke of aslama. The Hebrews, hishtavut. The second book of the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, speaks of samatvam, an “evenness of mind—a peace that is ever the same.” The Greeks, euthymia and hesychia. The Epicureans, ataraxia. The Christians, aequanimitas.

In English: stillness. To be steady while the world spins around you. To act without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. To possess quietude—exterior and interior—on command.

Stillness is that quiet moment when inspiration hits you. It’s that ability to step back and reflect. It’s what makes room for gratitude and happiness. It’s one of the most powerful forces on earth. We all need stillness, but those of us charging ahead with big plans and big dreams need it most of all.

Still, the word “stillness” can feel vague or ephemeral. It doesn’t need to be. There are, in fact, concrete and actionable ways to bring it into your life. It doesn’t just happen. You have to put in the work. You have to follow the guidance of the masters.

For many years, I have been a student of, and writer about, Stoicism, an ancient philosophy popular in the Roman Empire. Tim published my first two books about Stoicism as part of his Tim Ferriss Book Club (The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy). For my latest book, Stillness Is the Key, I looked at not just Stoicism, but Buddhism, Confucianism, Epicureanism, Christianity, Hinduism, and countless other philosophical schools and religions, and I found that the one thing all these schools share is a pursuit of this inner peace—this stillness—and a belief that it’s the key to a happy and meaningful life. As a result, here are 28 proven exercises from across all the wisdom of the ancient world that will help you keep steady, disciplined, focused, at peace, and able to access your full capabilities at any time, in any place, despite any distraction and every difficulty. 

These steps will work… if you work them. 


Journal. Michel Foucault called the journal a “weapon for spiritual combat.” According to her father, Otto, Anne Frank didn’t write in her journal every day, but she always wrote when she was upset or dealing with a problem. One of her best and most insightful lines must have come on a particularly difficult day. “Paper,” she said, “has more patience than people.” I journal each morning as a way of starting the day off fresh—I put my baggage down on the page so that I don’t have to carry it to meetings or to breakfast with my family. I start the day with stillness by pouring out what is not still into my journal. But there’s no right way or wrong way to journal. The point is just to do it.

See The World Like An Artist. Marcus Aurelius, who is supposedly this dark, depressive Stoic, seems to have seen beauty everywhere. Why else would he write so vividly of the ordinary way that “baking bread splits in places and those cracks, while not intended in the baker’s art, catch our eye and serve to stir our appetite,” or of the “stalks of ripe grain bending low, the frowning brow of the lion, the foam dripping from the boar’s mouth”? While other people are oblivious to (or overwhelmed by) what surrounds them, we want to practice really seeing. Try to notice the little things. Look at that tree like you’re a painter and trying to understand its essence. Observe that interaction with your parents like you were a stand-up comedian looking for material. An artist must be present. An artist must notice. An artist is still. 

Manage Your Inputs. As a general, Napoleon instructed his secretary to wait three weeks before opening any mail or correspondence. He wanted to see what would handle itself. One way I do this is with email filters. If I see an email is not urgent or not from a trusted source, I put it in a folder and sit on it (I like to reply on airplanes, without Wi-Fi, weeks or months later). Another way to do this is through gatekeepers. Having an assistant or an agent or a chief of staff means that trivial things have a harder time getting to you. You’re the boss—and the boss’s time must be protected! So that with stillness, you can give what matters your full attention. 

Take Walks. Nietzsche said that the ideas in Thus Spoke Zarathustra came to him on a long walk. Nikola Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field, one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time, on a walk through a city park in Budapest in 1882. When he lived in Paris, Ernest Hemingway would take long walks along the quais whenever he was stuck in his writing and needed to clarify his thinking. The cantankerous philosopher Søren Kierkegaard walked the streets of Copenhagen nearly every afternoon, as he wrote to his sister-in-law: “Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being.” I take a two-to-three mile walk each morning with my son—ideas for this very post came to me there.

Detach From Outcomes. Archery master Awa Kenzo spent little time teaching his students how to deliberately aim and shoot. What Kenzo wanted students to do was to put the thought of hitting the target out of their minds. He wanted them to detach even from the idea of an outcome. “The hits on the target,” he would say, “are only the outward proof and confirmation of your purposelessness at its highest, of your egolessness, your self-abandonment, or whatever you like to call this state.” This is something writers know well: You can’t think about the bestseller lists or awards or even the act of publishing. You must focus only on the page in front of you. You must learn how to let go and let the process take over. 

Stop Watching The News. The number one thing to filter out if you want more equanimity in your life? The news! “If you wish to improve,” Epictetus said, “be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters.” Not only does the news cost us our peace of mind, but it actually prevents us from creating real change, right now. Being informed is important… watching the news in real time is not how you get there.

Ask Questions. As in, do I need this? If I get what I want, what will actually change? Why do I care what they think? What am I working on in myself today? Will this matter in five years? What if I did nothing? Questions like these help us calm the anxieties in our head and help us slow down—allowing room for stillness. It’s important to question our beliefs and our instincts. Tim has some awesome “impossible questions” that will also lead to stillness: “What are the worst things that could happen?” “What’s the least crowded channel?” “Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?” “What if I could only subtract to solve problems?” “Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is?”

Read Books. “Turn off your radio,” Dorothy Day, the Catholic nun and social activist, wrote in her diary in 1942, “put away your daily paper…and spend time reading.” She meant books. Big, smart, wonderful books. If you’re stressed, stop whatever you’re doing and sit down with a book. You’ll find yourself calming down. You’ll get absorbed into a different world. William Osler, the founder of Johns Hopkins University, told aspiring medical students that when chemistry or anatomy distressed their soul, to “seek peace in the great pacifier, Shakespeare.” It doesn’t have to be plays—any great literature will do. Books are a way to get stillness on demand.

Put Your Phone Away. Remember, your phone is designed for one thing: to make you want to use it. And the apps on your phone have the same motivation too. That’s two very motivated ecosystems that are not aligned with your stillness. My screen time reducing rules: I don’t sleep in the same room as my phone. I don’t check my phone for at least the first hour of the day. I turn off all alerts and notifications. And if there is something I can do with a device other than my phone, I use that (example: don’t journal on your phone—get a paper journal).

Get Rid Of Stuff. Xunzi said, “The gentleman makes things his servants. The petty man is servant to things.” Every month, we go through our house and fill up bags for Goodwill and the Salvation Army. If we aren’t using it, it doesn’t need to take up space in our house. If it is causing us anxiety or worry (“Be careful or you’ll break it!”), we get rid of it. The less you have, the less you have to be worked up about. The less you are precious about, the less that can be taken from you by swings of fate or bad luck. 

Seek Solitude. “If I was to sum up the single biggest problem of senior leadership in the Information Age,” four-star Marine Corps general and former secretary of defense James Mattis has said, “it’s lack of reflection. Solitude allows you to reflect while others are reacting.” Bill Gates schedules “think weeks” where he goes off by himself and just reads and thinks. I like to do my thinking while running and swimming and taking walks—and many of my book ideas have come from these activities. Randall Stutman, who for decades has been the behind-the-scenes advisor for many of the biggest CEOs and leaders on Wall Street, once studied how several hundred senior executives of major corporations recharged in their downtime. The answers were things like swimming, sailing, long-distance cycling, listening quietly to classical music, scuba diving, riding motorcycles, and fly fishing. All these activities, he noticed, had one thing in common: an absence of voices. If you’re surrounded by others constantly, you’re likely to think and act as they do. To be original, you have to spend time alone. To have peace, you need solitude too.

Slow Down — Look Deeper. Framed on the wall of Fred Rogers’s production studio was a snippet from one of his favorite quotes: L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. What’s essential is invisible to the eye. Appearances and first impressions are misleading—we are so often deceived by what’s on the surface. It is in Stoicism and Buddhism and countless other schools that we find the same analogy: The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us. 

Enjoy the Small Pleasures. You know, Epicurus was not a glutton or a depraved maniac. On the contrary, he advocated that we enjoy the simple pleasures. There is a letter from Epicurus asking one of his rich supporters and friends for a gift. He wasn’t asking for money or exotic goods. He asked for a small pot of cheese. That’s it! That’s all the famous epicurean wanted. If you can teach yourself to be grateful for and enjoy the ordinary pleasures, you will be happier than just about everyone. A bowl of cereal. A good sunset. A nice conversation with friends. These are the moments to treasure. Not far-flung vacations or fancy cars or prestigious honors.

Take Mindless Mental Wanderings. The choreographer Twyla Tharp gives us this exercise: “Sit alone in a room and let your thoughts go wherever they will. Do this for one minute. […] Work up to ten minutes a day of this mindless mental wandering. Then start paying attention to your thoughts to see if a word or goal materializes. If it doesn’t, extend the exercise to eleven minutes, then twelve, then thirteen…until you find the length of time you need to ensure that something interesting will come to mind. The Gaelic phrase for this state of mind is ‘quietness without loneliness.’” You have to let your mind explore if you want it to discover new things.

Empty Your Mind. The paradox of Zen is that they want you to think very deeply… and also clear your mind. But it’s not a paradox. Life requires both. Yogi Berra famously said that it’s impossible to think and hit at the same time. It’s true. A major league baseball player has only 400 milliseconds to swing at a pitch. There’s no room for thinking. Chances are whatever you do is only made harder by the whirling thoughts of your inner monologue. Emptying our minds is especially important when we are upset. Push those nasty thoughts out—or let them float by like a cloud. Don’t get attached to them. Don’t let them take root. 

Seek Wisdom. Did you know that Buddha had a mentor? Two actually. His first teacher was Alara Kalama. His second was Uddaka Ramaputta. Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, studied under a philosopher named Crates. Who do you turn to for wisdom? Who is teaching you how to be better, calmer, and more still? For me, it was the author Robert Greene. From him, I was able to learn what it takes to be a writer, and I was able to learn how long the path to wisdom is. Having a mentor lets you see a version of yourself in the future. It teaches you not to be in such a hurry to get there, to know that it will take time (and most of all, lots of hard work). As Xunzi said: “Learning must never cease. … The noble person who studies widely and examines himself each day will become clear in his knowing and faultless in his conduct.”

[NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: See Robert Greene’s guest post: “The Magic of Apprenticeship — A How-To Guide“]

Be Present. They call it “the present” for a reason. Because each moment is a gift. Just stop. Breathe this in. Forget the past. Ignore the future. Just be. We are human beings after all.

Cultivate Relationships. Life without relationships, focused solely on accomplishment and success, is empty and meaningless. Love, Freud said, is the great educator. I’ve never understood the idea that monks and priests should turn away from relationships. No, it’s through loving and being loved that we reach a higher plane of stillness and understanding. My wife hasn’t held me back from anything—on the contrary, she’s not only made me better, she’s made all the work worthwhile. “There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable,” Seneca said, “unless one has someone to share it with.”

Develop Your Values — Memorialize Them. No one has less serenity than the person who does not know right from wrong. No one is more exhausted than the people who must belabor every decision and consider every temptation. Try sitting down and writing your own Ten Commandments—what you do and don’t do. Put it up somewhere in your house. Use it as a guide. Let it help you settle yourself down. Personally, I keep a list of what Marcus Aurelius called “epithets for the self” in a list on my desk. They are: “Honest. Calm. Fair. Father. Brave. Generous. Still.” Those are my priorities.

Beware Desire. John F. Kennedy stared down the Cuban Missile Crisis with incredible stillness. In those same 13 days, he also cheated on his wife with a college girl. That doesn’t sound like stillness (or strength)—the world was ending, and instead of being with the people he loved, he was chasing a thrill. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita calls desire the “ever-present enemy of the wise…which like a fire cannot find satisfaction.” Think about when you feel your best. It’s not when you are pining away. It’s not when you get what you pined for either. Stillness is when you are in control of your urges.

Realize You Have Plenty. Kurt Vonegut was once at a party with Joseph Heller, the author of Catch 22. Vonegut was teasing him about how a billionaire they both knew made more money that week than Catch 22 would make in a lifetime. “I have something he’ll never have,” Heller replied. “Enough.” Accomplishment. Money. Fame. Respect. No amount of them will ever make a person feel content. “When you realize there is nothing lacking,” Lao Tzu says, “the whole world belongs to you.” It’s not that you shouldn’t have goals and that you shouldn’t strive for more; it’s that you have to learn how to appreciate what you have right now. Remind yourself each morning, as I try to do, that you have enough. 

Zoom Out. When astronaut Edgar Mitchell was launched into space in 1971, he stared down at the tiny blue marble and felt something wash over him: a sense of connectedness and compassion for everyone and everything, “an instant global consciousness.” With the realization that we are all one, that we are all in this together, and that this fact is the only thing that truly matters, we lose the selfishness and self-absorption at the root of much of the disturbance in our lives. Remind yourself of this each time you look down out of an airplane window or from a high floor in a tall building or each time you look up at the stars. You are small but also part of something big.

Stop, Wait, Say No? The great baseball hitter Sadaharu Oh learned from his Zen Master and hitting coach, Hiroshi Arakawa, the power of waiting, the power of precision, the power of the void, the power of wu wei, or nonaction. Think of Fabius, the Roman general who defeated Hannibal by not attacking, but letting him defeat himself, far from home. You must protect your time and hold something back. Do not swing at every opportunity. Do not rush into action without thinking. I have a picture in my office of Oliver Sacks and behind him is a large sign that says “NO!” It’s a reminder to me to consider each opportunity and each ask carefully. What’s at stake is my stillness and my finite resources. So are yours!

Build A Routine. It’s strange to us that successful people, who are more or less their own boss and are clearly so talented, seem prisoners to the regimentation of their routines. Think about Jocko waking up at 4:30 a.m. every morning. Isn’t the whole point of greatness that you’re freed from trivial rules and regulations? That you can do whatever you want? Ah, but the greats know that complete freedom is a nightmare. They know that order is a prerequisite of excellence and that in an unpredictable world, good habits are a safe haven of certainty. It was Eisenhower who defined freedom as the opportunity for self-discipline. Without it, chaos and complacency move in. 

Pace Yourself. The main cause of injury for elite athletes is not tripping and falling. It’s not collisions. It’s overuse. Pitchers and quarterbacks throw out their arms. Others just get tired of the grinding hours and the pressure. Michael Phelps prematurely ended his swimming career for this reason—despite all the gold medals, he never wanted to get in a pool again. Life is much more of a marathon than a sprint. Last year, I got mono because I wore my immune system down. Ironically, my fear of missing out on work caused me to miss a bunch of work! Don’t burn out. Relax. Be still, so you can be strong over the long term.

[NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Listen to Ryan and Tim discuss workaholism in their conversation on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast.]

Sleep. The bloodshot engineer six Red Bulls deep has no chance of stillness. Nor does the recent grad—or not-so-recent grad—who still parties like she’s in college. Nor does the writer who plans poorly and promises himself he’ll finish his book in a sleepless three-day sprint. Think of Arianna Huffington, who passed out from lack of sleep and shattered her cheekbone as she hit the bathroom floor. Shudder when you think about that—because it’s a cautionary tale. Believe it or not, I’ve never pulled an all-nighter, despite writing 10 books in less than a decade. Abusing the body leads the mind to abuse itself. Sleep is the recharging of the internal batteries, whose energy stores we recruit in order to do our work. Guard it carefully.

Make Time For Hobbies. “If action tires your body but puts your heart at ease,” Xunzi said, “do it.” Winston Churchill loved to paint and lay bricks on his country estate; his predecessor William Gladstone loved to chop down trees by hand. Even Jesus liked to go fishing with his friends! Assembling a puzzle, struggling with a guitar lesson, sitting on a quiet morning in a hunting blind, steadying a rifle or a bow while we wait for a deer, ladling soup in a homeless shelter, a long swim, lifting heavy weights—these are all great hobbies. Mine are running and swimming and working on my farm. Engaged in these activities, my body is busy but my mind is open. My heart is too.

Do Good. Marcus Aurelius spoke of moving from one unselfish action to another—“Only there,” he said, can we find “delight and stillness.” If you see a fraud and do not say fraud, the philosopher Nassim Taleb has said, you are a fraud. If we want to be good and feel good, we have to do good. Remember the Boy Scout slogan: Do a good turn daily. It can be big, or it can be small. It can be picking up trash you find on the ground or rushing to the scene of an accident. Doing good creates spiritual stillness. It makes the world a better place.


Each of our paths to stillness will be unique, but the outcome will be the same: quiet, strength, insight, peace, happiness. Most of all, we will be surprised to learn that the stillness we sought is not found outside us but within us. It’s been ours all along.

We just needed to unlock it. To access it. And to hold it close. 

Stillness is the key. To everything we want in life.

Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday) is the the author of many bestselling books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, and The Daily Stoic. His new book, Stillness Is the Key, is coming out October 1st.

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You hurt me. And now you want to come back. You want me to forgive you for everything that happened. You want me to give you another chance and act like everything is fine between us again.

It’s not fair that you’re making me choose between a relationship with you and my mental health. I shouldn’t have to turn you away. I shouldn’t have to play the bad guy. I shouldn’t have to decide whether I’m going to involve you in my life moving forward.

I’m not mad at you for trying to ease your way back into my world. I’m mad at you for giving me a reason to push you out of my world to begin with. It’s not fair that we spent so much time apart. It’s not fair that you became a stranger. It’s not fair that I have no idea what’s going on in your life and you have no idea about mine.

It’s not fair that I have all of these painful memories of you. It’s not fair that, for every good thing I have to say about you, I have two horrible things to say. It’s not fair that it turned out this way between us. It’s not fair that this is where our story led.

And now, it’s not fair that I’m stuck in this position — wondering whether I should let you back into my life and risk getting hurt again, or whether I should and risk living with the guilt of keeping you at a distance. Either way, I’m losing out yet again. If you come back, it isn’t going to be easy to reconnect with you. It’s going to hurt like hell. And it’s going to hurt in a completely different way if I don’t answer your calls, if I don’t see you again, if I don’t give you another chance.

It’s not fair that this is happening to me. It’s not fair that I feel this way. It’s not fair that you brought us to this point. It’s not fair that, even if I decided to try to start over with you, there’s always going to be some resentment and anger and pain. There’s always going to be a million moments that we want erased.

It’s not fair that you put me through so much hell when I didn’t do anything to deserve it. It’s not fair that there isn’t anything I can do to change the past or even forget the past. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair.

And it’s not fair that I have to keep using that word you always warned me not to use. That word that comes across as childish and immature. That word that is meaningless, pointless, useless.

I still remember the way you would always stop me from using it, how you would interrupt and say, “Whoever told you life was fair was lying to you.” You were wrong about a lot of things, but I guess you were right about that. TC mark


1. Refuse to accept responsibility for the mistakes they’ve made. If they keep trying to turn the situation around and blame other people or the circumstances they were under for what they’ve done, it means they aren’t mature enough to take responsibility for their own actions. They aren’t self-aware enough to realize they aren’t perfect and they aren’t always going to make the right decisions.

2. Refuse to apologize for the mistakes they’ve made. If they feel like they haven’t really done anything wrong, then what’s stopping them from repeating the bad behavior in the future? If they think they’re living a perfectly fine, moral life, then they’re going to continue acting the way they’ve been acting. They won’t see a reason to change.

3. Point out all of the mistakes you’ve made to draw the attention away from them. When you’re upset by something they’ve done, they shouldn’t fire back with all of the things that you’ve done wrong in the past. If they’re deflecting because they want to blame you for the bad things they’ve done, you might not want to give them a second chance. You might want to part ways.

4. Try to guilt trip you into keeping them in your world. You aren’t under any obligation to keep them in your life. You shouldn’t feel like you’re required to give them a second chance, simply because you have a long history together or because you’ve made promises to each other in the past. You’re allowed to move on at any time. If they’ve broken your trust and broken your faith in them, then you’re allowed to say goodbye.

5. Act like you’re overreacting to whatever they’ve done. You’re entitled to your opinions and your emotions. The way you’re feeling right now is valid. If this other person doesn’t take your emotions seriously and accuses you of being dramatic over something that is not that big of a deal, then they aren’t meant to be in your world. You don’t want someone around who disrespects your feelings, who tries to dictate whether or not you have a right to be upset over things they’ve done.

6. Make you feel horrible about yourself. Before you give this person a second chance, take a second to really think about whether you want them around for any longer. If they make you stressed out, self-conscious, and overall miserable then you might benefit by ending your relationship. Remember, you have a choice. You can choose to walk away from this person. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

7. Repeat their bad behaviors. If this isn’t the first time you’ve gotten into an argument with them over the same issue, then you might want to call it quits. They obviously haven’t learned their lesson since the last time they hurt you, so what makes you think they would learn their lesson this time around? If they make a habit out of something you hate, you probably shouldn’t give them another chance. Otherwise, history is only going to repeat itself. TC mark


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