Imagine your mind is a yard on a clear March day. You’ve been offered a chance to walk around. You may choose to clear fresh paths through the brown winter muck, pick up bits of trash you forgot were buried under all that ice and snow, decide what new seeds to plant and where. You’ve been told your soil is rich—much richer than you thought—and now you are sure that with time and attention and a lot of gritty work, you can grow almost anything. You roll up your sleeves and take stock. What habits of mind will you dig up and toss on the compost heap? What mental skills and emotional states, what beliefs about yourself and the world will you choose to cultivate?

Little more than a decade ago, the physical landscape of our minds was ...

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