How to Let Go of an Old Life, or Neil Hughes and the Fiery Death of the Phoenix

Readers of How To Be Everything—Emilie Wapnicks’s guidebook to life—will be familiar with the Phoenix Approach, which describes how people occasionally reinvent themselves like the legendary phoenix rising from its own ashes.

This sounds exciting—and it is. But it turns out burning up and rebirthing out of the remains can hurt.

Isn’t There Something More I Should Be Doing?

I’ve never felt more useless than during covid. In my country, there ws a time when every Thursday evening everybody lined up outside to applaud health workers. Quite rightly, we recognised their bravery and heroism in frightening circumstances. 

I, on the other hand, wasn’t saving lives. I’ve spent the last few years writing…

How to Be Happy By Understanding Instrumental Values

You could make a strong argument that the universe is poorly designed.

Don’t get me wrong, I doubt I could do a better job. But, due to what appears to be a mistake in the grand universal design, nothing is purely, unequivocally good. There’s always a trade-off.

Be Careful What You Wish For: Lessons from an Unusual Opportunity

Wishes are dangerous. So every fairy tale tells us. The genie will grant your desires… but too literally. The monkey paw will give you what you want… but with an evil twist. And, just when you think you’re safe, the magic lemming steals your fruit in the night.

How to Have No Regrets

Once upon a time, my parents took me to the zoo. This day is full of memories which have stuck with me ever since—the sunshine, the excitement, the ice cream… even holding hands with my dad, watching eagerly as he unfolded the map.

One of the sharpest and most vivid memories is of…

When Every Day Is The Same… Make Each Day A Little Better

Last year, life was tedious. It was like my own personal Groundhog Day, except I actually got older and I barely learned anything. Each day was the same: I awoke, I worked in my little office, I slept. 

And repeat.