The Human Flourishing Project

Episode 42: The Joy of Reverse Procrastination

An episode of The Human Flourishing Project

By Alex Epstein
Hi, I'm Alex Epstein.

I started the Human Flourishing project to tackle the problem I care about most: human beings lack reliable access to the knowledge we need to flourish.
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Episode 46: Reengineering routines
Alex Epstein discusses three recent disruptions to major life routines and how he reengineered his routines to get back on track.
August 9, 2019
Episode 45: Tracking mental metrics
Alex Epstein discusses the mental metrics that he tracks on a daily basis.
July 26, 2019
Episode 44: No Means Yes
Alex Epstein discusses how saying “no” to most requests is essential to saying “yes” to your most important values.
July 12, 2019
Episode 43: Recalibrating standards of success
Alex Epstein discusses how to recalibrate your standards of success in work and in personal life.
June 29, 2019
Episode 42: The Joy of Reverse Procrastination
Alex Epstein discusses “reverse procrastination” and how it can lead to increased creativity, joy, and “time choice.”
June 22, 2019
Episode 41: The lesson I relearned from my new dog
Alex Epstein discusses one of his favorite lessons he’s learned about learning—which he has recently relearned with his new puppy, Sherlock.
June 8, 2019
Episode 40: The wisdom of The Fountainhead (part 1)
Alex Epstein discusses what he has learned about the psychology of human flourishing from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
June 1, 2019
Episode 39: The case for achieving 80% of your potential (part 2)
Alex Epstein continues his discussion of "80%" actualization, focusing on how it creates productive momentum and increases productive enjoyment.
May 18, 2019
Episode 38: Clear thinking and human flourishing
Alex Epstein is joined by his friend and fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Matthew Blasdel to discuss some interesting questions he had about clear thinking and human flourishing.
May 11, 2019
Episode 37: Life recipes
Alex Epstein discusses his favorite new “life recipe” and how you can create your own great life recipes.
May 4, 2019
Episode 36: The case for achieving 80% of your potential
Alex Epstein discusses the counterintuitive idea that you can get better results with more enjoyment by consistently striving to achieve 80% of your potential.
April 26, 2019
Episode 35: The search for truly great content (part 3)
Alex Epstein shares some of the fascinating recommendations of truly great content he's gotten from listeners so far.
April 20, 2019
Episode 34: The search for truly great content (part 2)
Alex Epstein shares the new and improved survey he’s created to get recommendations of “truly great content” from you, the listener, about crucial, complex, confusing issues. Everyone who fills out the survey will get access to all the recommendations.
April 12, 2019
Episode 33: Cultivating appreciation
Alex Epstein discusses three recent experiences that have motivated him to cultivate the habit of appreciation.
April 5, 2019
Episode 32: 2019 resolutions--progress report and lessons learned
Alex Epstein discusses how he's made rapid progress on his 2019 New Year's Resolutions through "weekly altitude time."
March 22, 2019
Episode 31: How I learn from other people’s systems
Alex Epstein discusses, using last week’s interview as an example, how he learns as much as he can as quickly as possible from other people’s successful systems.
March 16, 2019
Episode 30: An innovative psychotherapist
Alex interviews Brent Charleton, an innovative psychotherapist and executive coach, about how he developed a system that has yielded dramatically positive results with his clients.
March 9, 2019
Episode 29: The search for truly great content
Alex Epstein shares a new survey he’s created to get recommendations of “truly great content” from you, the listener, about crucial, complex, confusing issues.
March 2, 2019
Episode 28: The wisdom of Arnold Bennett (part 2)
Alex Epstein discusses some of Arnold Bennett’s positive insights on: personal finance, finding life interesting, taking control of one’s own mind, and integrating the present with the future.
February 23, 2019
Episode 27: The wisdom of Arnold Bennett (part 1)
Alex Epstein discusses why he loves the century-old self-help writings of Arnold Bennett, a master of "wise ridicule."
February 16, 2019
Episode 26: The search for superior systems
Alex Epstein discusses the rare value of “superior system builders” and three attributes they have in common.
February 9, 2019
Episode 25: Q&A on resolutions, contexts, and personal assistants
Alex Epstein answers listener questions on how his New Year’s Resolutions are going, how to think about other people’s contexts, and how to make the most of a personal assistant.
January 26, 2019
Episode 24: The benefits of a time-blocked life
Alex Epstein discusses how he is applying "time-blocking" to every major category of life.
January 19, 2019
Episode 23: How to evaluate controversial technologies
In this episode of The Human Flourishing Project I discuss my framework for evaluating controversial technologies such as AI, genetic engineering, and, of course, fossil fuels.
January 12, 2019
Episode 22: The “altitude walk”
Alex Epstein discusses “the altitude walk,” a tool for improving the quality of your important decisions.
January 5, 2019
Episode 21: New Year’s resolutions for 2019
Alex Epstein discusses his resolutions for 2019, how he decided on them, and how he is going to ensure that he keeps them.
December 28, 2018
Episode 20: How no news leads to good news
Alex Epstein discusses his perspective on “news” and how avoiding it or time-blocking it can improve your ability to advance your own agenda.
December 22, 2018
Episode 19: Engineering your life routine
Alex Epstein discusses his specific “life routine” and guidelines for engineering your own.
December 15, 2018
Episode 18: Seeking stimulation vs. seeking nourishment
Alex Epstein discusses a concept he’s been refining this week as he’s been sick: the tendency to seek short-term stimulation when we’re uncomfortable—and why we should seek “nourishment” instead.
December 8, 2018
Episode 17: Focus and opportunity cost
Alex Epstein discusses his "secret project" and how working on it has helped him understand the vital concepts of focus and "opportunity cost."
December 1, 2018
Episode 16: The art of self-experimentation
Alex Epstein discusses two thoughtful reader comments on his exploration of nutrition, both of which point to the value of self-experimentation to personal flourishing.
November 17, 2018
Episode 15: Nutrition (part 3)
Alex Epstein discusses the latest developments in his quest to get real knowledge about nutrition. To access the debate he recommends go to Share your thoughts on the debate, as well as your questions for our upcoming psychology guest, on our Facebook page.
November 10, 2018
Episode 14: Nutrition (part 2)
Alex Epstein discusses how to understand the essentials of expert claims and expert disagreements through "reverse outlining." At the end of the show, he invites listeners to create their own "reverse outlines" of content they like. You can submit your reverse outline (and read his Ultimate Outline guide) at
November 3, 2018
Episode 13: Nutrition (part 1)
Alex Epstein discusses two processes he is using to sift through self-proclaimed experts on nutrition.
October 26, 2018
Episode 12: The weekend crisis and the Playtime Planner
Alex Epstein discusses why he and others have difficulty flourishing on the weekend. To address this “weekend crisis” he introduces a new tool called the Playtime Planner.
October 20, 2018
Episode 11: Q&A
Alex Epstein answers listener questions about creativity, meditation, planning the week, and many other topics.
October 13, 2018
Episode 10: review and survey
Alex Epstein discusses lessons he’s learned from the podcast so far and asks listeners to answer four questions to help him improve the show.
October 5, 2018
Episode 9: Relaxed productivity (part 2)
Alex Epstein discusses two contributors to relaxed productivity, “cash confidence” and “collaborator confidence.” He also discusses the importance of “thinking through implications” in utilizing these ideas (and any ideas).
September 29, 2018
Episode 8: Relaxed productivity (part 1)
Alex Epstein discusses what "relaxed productivity" is, why it's so desirable, and what practices can help us achieve it.
September 21, 2018
Episode 7: Rejuvenation
Alex Epstein discusses the role of rejuvenation in human flourishing and shares some methods to identify what will rejuvenate you the most.
September 14, 2018
Episode 6: Respecting context and independence
Alex Epstein discusses the importance of explaining ideas in a way that respects the context and independence of the other person. To accomplish this goal he suggests using “opinion stories” to explain crucial, controversial ideas.
September 7, 2018
Episode 5: Constructive conversations
Alex Epstein discusses how to have constructive conversations—conversations where two people combine their knowledge and abilities to build a better understanding—about controversial issues.
September 1, 2018
Episode 4: The science of explanation
Alex Epstein discusses why it’s crucial for the specialists with the best knowledge to have far better systems for persuasively explaining their views. He shares two parts of his own explanation system: the context-bridging model of explanation, and the process of framing explanations.
August 24, 2018
Episode 3: How to enjoy growth and progress
Alex Epstein discusses the challenge of enjoying ourselves as we grow and progress. Most ambitious people are taught a self-defeating system for evaluating their progress—one that leads to a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. By changing how we evaluate our progress we can enjoy it more and be motivated to achieve more.
August 17, 2018
Episode 2: Upgrading our knowledge systems
Alex Epstein discusses how we as individuals and as a society can develop the *knowledge systems* we need to flourish.
August 11, 2018
Episode 1: The problem I most want to solve
On the first ever episode of The Human Flourishing Project, Alex Epstein introduces the problem this project exists to solve: human beings lack reliable access to the knowledge we need to flourish.
August 3, 2018
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