Audio

A discarded pen of a poet.

Renunciation can be a creative force. American scholar Ross Posnock tells stories of writers, philosophers and artists who've committed "acts of abandonment," leaving careers and creative lives behind. They weren't failures, Posnock says — they were necessary departures that led to creative and intellectual breakthroughs.

One last drink

Could you give up alcohol for a whole month? No cocktails with friends, wine with dinner, or beer after a game. Ten years ago, John Ore and his wife started a new tradition and named it "Dry- nuary ." Today, people all over the world observe it. John says even after a decade, it's still a challenge — but worth it.

Cabin in the woods

Howard Axelrod was accidentally blinded in one eye in a freak accident when he was in college. Disoriented and depressed, he retreated to an off-the-grid cabin in the Vermont wilderness. 

Where do you turn to for inspiration on how to live a meaningful life? Religion? Family? Great books? Poet David Whyte finds inspiration in everyday words. In his book Consolations, Whyte examines the deeper, often surpising meanings of 52 ordinary words.

Historian Darrin McMahon traces ideas around happiness from classical antiquity to the modern age. He says the Founding Fathers equated happiness with virtue instead of pleasure.

Psychiatrist Michael Bennett and his daughter, comedy writer Sarah Bennett, say it's time we stopped thinking about our feelings and instead focused on our actions.

Rock climber Alex Honnold burst onto the scene a few years ago with some breathtaking solo climbs in Zion and Yosemite, and he’s pushed the limits for what climbers thought possible.

Setting goals

Chrisoula Andreou offers some strategies that can help us stop putting things off.

Procrastinating while writing.

When it comes to writing, it's easy to procrastinate. But Canadian philosopher Mark Kingwell has managed to avoid that temptation.

Pages

Subscribe to Audio