Welcome! I'm Michael.
I'm an ENTP based in the United States—in Portland, Oregon (living in an "intentional community" house I created with five other humans).
My mission is to help people unlock their potential as Full-Stack Humans.
I write about topics like these:
- Lifestyle & Habit Design (energy management, todo list prioritization, easeful decision-making (yes, even for over-thinkers), habit formation & retention, and more)
- Mindset & Meaning (rationality + mindfulness, building existential resiliency, creating purpose, and systematically dealing with depression, anxiety, and nihilism)
- Communication & Social Justice (making friends as an adult, deepening relationships, escaping small talk, and being an effective ally)
Below this section, you'll find all my deep-dive posts—the ones that explore the details and nuances of complex topics.
But I've also been publishing shorter posts that take just a few minutes to read. They're cross-posted to three different platforms, so you can pick your favorite:
I often weave personality typing into a variety of my blog posts, but this section is for posts specifically about typology.
Cognitive Function Personality Test
Want to better understand who you are? My test goes deeper, beyond the usual "do you prefer staying home or going to a party?" This test delves into the cognitive functions created by Carl Jung and the fuller complexity of the 16 types you've heard of (yes, it's possible to be both introverted and extroverted depending on the situation!).
ENTP or INTP? How to tell the difference
Since ENTP’s are one of the most introverted of the extrovert types, it’s common for NTP’s to be confused about whether they’re an I or an E. It doesn’t help that the Internet is full of stereotypes and exaggerated memes about both of these types too. In my new blog post I break down the most prominent differences I’ve personally seen between those two types after having coached dozens of NTP’s.
My 7-day guided meditation series—for complete beginners (and beyond)
If you're looking for a guided meditation, where should you begin? There are way too many choices! That’s exactly why I recorded this simple series to walk you through the very basics—techniques that apply to many of the common styles of meditation. We’ll start with just 1 minute a day, and you don’t need any equipment.
Mindfulness & Meditation
I was a proud skeptic. I thought I was already self-aware so meditation would be a waste of my time. I was very, very wrong. I tried and failed at various meditation techniques for years, but it's now become my most important habit that I prioritize every day.
Especially if you're an analytical thinker, I believe this is the single most important skill for you to learn to succeed at life. I'll walk you through meditation step by step in a rational, non-woo-woo way, and I'll offer you the most important tips I've learned over a decade of practicing.
Where to start?
If you're ready to jump in, I suggest starting with my 7-day guided meditation series. Or, if you're unconvinced that meditation is worth your time (or you think that meditation isn't for you, you're just not a meditator, or meditation doesn't work), I suggest starting with my deep-dive series on meditation.
Why this is the #1 skill you should learn as a Thinker type to make the most of your life (it’s like getting root-level access to your operating system)
Introduction to my multi-part series on mindfulness & meditation, including the 5 most common objections I've heard and my 4 top reasons I believe you should prioritize meditation.
9 steps to get the most out of meditation (whether you’re an absolute beginner or you’ve struggled to make it work for you)
Walking you through meditation from the very basics through to some more advanced techniques. This covers environment, posture, tools, techniques for staying focused, and more.
Different styles, traditions, teachers, apps, and more; plus, a 12-week learning schedule you can use, and my series takeaways
Exploring several of my favorite meditation traditions, teachers, and specific guided meditations. I also recommend my 3 favorite meditation apps, and I offer a 12-week sample learning schedule as well as a list of 13 takeaways from this series.
Purpose, Spirituality, Buddhism
I'm passionate about existential philosophy, exploring the meaning of life, and investigating spirituality through the lens of rationality and lived experience rather than faith.
(In particular, I've fallen in love with Sōtō Zen Buddhism, and I'm familiar with the Theravadan Vipassana lineage through Goenka as well.)
I've written about these topics quite a bit on a variety of platforms.
Here are some of my favorite pieces of writing to start with:
- The most important question a person can ask: What's the meaning of life?
- You only have a limited time to be alive. What should you do about that? I've helped many clients navigate this. Here are my top tips in 3 big areas.
- 5 years ago, I was waiting for my "real" life to start. Here's the lesson that changed my life (& helped me realize why I'd been so depressed)
- Should you be excited to get out of bed every morning? What’s a realistic standard for a happy life? Here are the top 5 metrics I suggest.
- Zen is changing my life. If you’re a future-focused overthinker like me, it might address your core struggles. (look for the link to Part 2 in the top comment)
- Analytical thinkers: Use this simple framework to identify precisely why you’re feeling bad in *any* situation (and what the path out will be)
Hey, I see you!
You might have just read that headline ("social justice") and felt uncomfortable. What's in here might not apply to you, right? Or maybe it'll be impractical or unrealistically idealistic.
Worst of all, especially if you're a straight white guy, you might imagine that anything in this section will be designed to make you feel bad about yourself.
As a fellow straight white guy, let me assure you: I'm still learning too, and I know that we all make mistakes. This collection is meant to be gentle & educational. I won't be "canceling" you.
Finally, I firmly believe that being a good ally to people with marginalized identities (e.g., people of color or people who identify as LGBTQIA+) is not just for their benefit (although that's certainly important too). It actually benefits all of us. This work is about our collective freedom and liberation.
Hey, fellow straight white guys—here’s how to use pronouns to be a better ally (and boost your own freedom & self-knowledge at the same time)
- How you're already using pronouns, and why they're useful
- Downsides of “he” and “she”
- Upsides of “she”
- Upsides of “he”
- How learning about pronouns has informed my own journey around gender identity
- How expanding our conception of gender actually liberates all of us—even heterosexual cisgendered guys like me
Intro to Race in the United States for White People
This is a non-political deep-dive introduction to how race works in this country (written by an ENTP): where race came from and how it factors into America today. This is not at all about political correctness, and I'm firmly against shaming people. It's my attempt to explain a complex topic to other white people with clarity and kindness.
Cryptocurrency is my newest obsession. As a multi-passionate analytical thinker, I love that crypto is so multidisciplinary. Especially if you're an ENTP or INTP as well, I believe this will fascinate you.
The first two posts are linked below, but there are a lot more of them on my page devoted to this series: Easing into Crypto. (P.S. Each post is also available for free as an audio podcast on Spotify or iTunes).
Overview of my series, who this is for, why you might consider listening to me, and how easy it is to think you understand crypto when you actually don’t
- Why this information might be useful for almost anyone
- My background in the tech industry
- How easy it is to lose money in crypto, and why you need to be careful
- Overview of how this series is organized
Habits & Willpower
One of the most common challenges I hear from people I coach is low motivation and trouble sticking to new habits. Here's everything you need to know to get started with science-backed habit creation.
How to add multiple new habits at once—especially for ENTPs and ENFPs
I’d always read that new habits have to be developed one at a time. That didn’t work for me because I can never pick just one. Then I discovered a technique that lets me work on multiple changes in my life at once, and without using up all my willpower.
Top Book Recommendations
For most of my 20’s, I was convinced that being a successful adult meant following recipes to cook fancy, exciting meals. I would spend hours searching Reddit and Allrecipes for interesting recipes, sorting by highest-rated, and pushing myself to try new flavor profiles.
Cooking seems hard. But it only seems that way because you’re used to thinking of cooking in terms of following complex recipes. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. Let's make it easy for you to cook easy, healthy, delicious meals in just 15 minutes.
No idea how to cook? Hate wasting time & having to clean up? Me too. Here’s a super-easy template for healthy, delicious meals in 15 minutes. Part 1: Breakfast / Brunch
Everything you need to need to begin, including a list of all equipment and a step-by-step guide. Whether you're an absolute beginner or someone who's slogged through recipes for years and is ready for something easier, this is for you.
This section contains posts on a variety of topics related to personal growth.
How I decided what to charge: what’s logical and ethical when you’re doing what you love?
The single biggest challenge for me since starting my private coaching practice (other than the impostor syndrome) has been deciding what to charge. In this post, I analyze all the arguments I’ve heard and figure out what makes the most ethical and logical sense for pricing my coaching services. I’ll also cover some of the most common psychological biases and pricing tactics I’ve seen used in the industry.
How to become a more empathetic communicator
I kept hearing people saying that they were “holding space” for me, but it took me months to understand what that really meant. In this post, I unpack that phrase. I’ll explain how to be truly present in a conversation, and how that will help you become a far more empathetic friend and partner.
Free your mind: Change the stories you tell yourself
Ever realize that you’ve been telling yourself a story for years that’s not actually true? These stories are at the heart of how we see ourselves in the world. They set your expectations, and they help you rationalize when things don’t go your way.
Living with the Pandemic
I'm not a medical professional, but I was frustrated by all the misinformation and confusing advice out there on COVID-19.
So, I did a lot of research (synthesizing hundreds of articles) and created this series of posts with everything you need to know from how to keep a "bubble" or "pod" safe, to which specific masks are best, to the latest information about the virus "variants" and vaccines.
The most recent two posts are linked below, but there are a lot more of them on my page devoted to this series: Living with the Pandemic.
Omicron BA.5—the rules have changed (outdoors is less safe, and you can get reinfected often, each time with increased odds of Long COVID)
Now’s one of those times when it might make sense to take a step back and revisit some of your personal COVID policies in light of this new sub-variant. In short: BA.5 spreads a *lot* more easily, even outside. It’s also possible to get it again after only two weeks. And, each time you get it, it has more of an impact on your body.