What, the first question must be, is the distinguishing essence of heroism?
Psychology & Living
It Takes One to Know One–Or Does It?
Q: What do you think of the old saying, "It takes one to know one"? A: It's a package deal. By package deal I mean the lumping of a true concept with a false one. The evil of a package deal is that the truthful part of the statement motivates one to accept the full...
Self-Interest Trumps Niceness
Q: What's more important, being nice or being self-interested? A: It's good to be nice. Being nice is more often in one's self-interest than not. For example: Are you more willing to spend your money at a business who treats its customers nicely or who treats its...
Olympic Gold All Around Gymnast Paul Hamm: Only Human
After three out of six rotations in the Men's All-around Olympic Gymnastics, American gymnast Paul Hamm was ranked first place in the standings. His next event was the vault. Hamm's vault was to be a Tsukahara--named after Japanese gymnast Mitsuo Tsukahara. It was...
“What Should I Do?”
When stuck with the question, "What should I do?" don't stay stuck. Don't fall prey to the temptation to blindly asking someone else what you should do. Instead, ask yourself -- and answer -- the following questions: What are my options in this situation? (If there is...
The Error of the Self-Esteem Movement
In recent decades, the field of psychology made a mistake. That mistake was treating self-esteem as the root of mental health. The root of mental health is actually personal responsibility. Personal responsibility refers to a core conviction that you are in the...
How to Choose a Career
The basic rule to follow in a process of identification is to choose the career in which you will spend the most time doing the activity you love to do the most.
Forgiveness and Mental Health
A reader writes in, taking issue with Dr. Hurd's contention that forgiving the unforgivable (e.g. snipers, drunk driving) is neither noble nor healthy: Forgiving someone who committed a crime against you after they have served their sentence and you have had time to...
The Joy of Football: The Super Bowl Offers a Too-Rare Celebration of Goal-Achievement
Ultimately, sporting events like football’s Super Bowl offer a microcosmic vision of what “real life” could, and should, be like.
The Psychology of Sexual Arousal
Q: Why do men seem to enjoy viewing women naked (e.g., in photos, real life, etc.) much more than women seem to enjoy looking at naked men? It seems men are much more "turned on" romantically/sexually by the visual aspects of the opposite sex, than the other way...
Roasting Walter Williams
At George Mason University, they are giving a “roast” — that peculiarly American combination of praise and ridicule — to Walter Williams, professor of economics and columnist extraordinaire. Although I cannot be there, let me participate vicariously with a few observations about Walter.
Marilyn Monroe: Through Your Most Grievous Fault
Marilyn Monroe on the screen was an image of pure, innocent, childlike joy in living.
Overwhelmed By Lack of Confidence
Q: I know people who do more than I do yet don't seem to get overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed most of the time, yet I do less than these people. What's my problem? A: It's not how much you do; it's how you view what you do that determines your overall emotional state...
Trying to Please Everyone
Q: How can I overcome the problem of wanting everybody to like me? A: Imagine for a moment that you were liked by everyone. This would most certainly mean that you're doing something wrong. Why? Because it would be impossible to please everyone. People, first of all,...
The Rational Basis of Sex: Sacrifice and Selflessness Have No Role in Sex (Part 4 of 4)
In the healthiest meaning of love and sex, both involve “compromise,” but not of the kind inherent in any moral code of sacrifice or selflessness.
The Rational Basis of Sex: Psychological Visibility (Part 2 of 4)
Let us take a closer look at what such admiration consist of by grasping the concept of psychological visibility. Every person holds fundamental ideas about himself. Take Tom who thinks "It's important to make healthy, honest choices in my life. I want to feel proud...
The Lure of Baseball
In a world of life-and-death conflicts, spectator sports give us a “time-out”–an opportunity to relax and celebrate human skill, dedication, and success in a spirit of simple joy.
The Rational Basis of Sex: Common Views About Sex (Part 1 of 4)
What is sex? I can picture asking an adolescent boy this question and he’d say “You don’t know…?!”
It Could Be Worse
Q: Dr. Hurd, I sometimes fight feeling low by telling myself, "It could be worse." Then I proceed to name examples of how it could be worse. Is this healthy -- or am I putting neurotic guilt on myself? A: It all depends on the context in which you say it. If you say...
Celebrate Valentine’s Day By Understanding the True Meaning of Love
To love a person is selfish because it means that you value that particular person, that he or she makes your life better, that he or she is an intense source of joy–to you.
An Open Letter Regarding China to the International Olympic Committee
You must stand tall for moral principles and the dignity of man. Award the Olympics to a country where rights are protected, not to the Butchers of Beijing.
Deciding Upon A Career
Finding a career to be passionate about is like finding the love of your life.
Fear of Failure
Fear of failure -- you hear psychologists on "Oprah," and elsewhere, talk about it all the time. What actually is it? Fear of failure is simply what it self-evidently appears to be. It is the fear of not achieving your goal or value in some context -- specifically,...
The Best Therapy in the World
People ask me all the time how they can develop proper tools of self-confidence. Allow me to save you a few steps. THERE IS NO BETTER TOOL OF SELF CONFIDENCE THAN COMING UP WITH A REALISTIC PLAN OF ACTION AND THEN FOLLOWING THROUGH ON IT, OVER A PERIOD OF MONTHS AND...