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Words in Forge, Debugger, Better Humans, & more. | A 23-year-old writing about self-improvement that interests me. | Get in touch -> maxphillipswrites@gmail.com

Train your brain to master the art of controlled anticipation

Photo: Pixels Effect/Getty Images

Tell me if this rings a bell: After a long, long, long stretch of pandemic sameness, you finally have something on the calendar that has you looking forward — maybe a date with a friend you haven’t seen in forever, or a weekend day trip, or just a coveted afternoon alone, away from the people you’ve been cooped up with. You’re excited. You’re eager. You’re ready. And then, suddenly, it’s here and then over — and by the time the next week is out, you can barely remember how great you felt.

It’s natural. We have a tendency to tear…


Organize your present and lend a helping hand to your future

Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

If I let you peek into my iPhone’s Notes app, you’d see a rough exercise plan I follow and ingredients for a recipe I made last week. There are random dates, article ideas, passwords for mystery accounts, books, a failed weekly schedule, and potential holiday destinations for a time when we can travel again. If my phone had a soul, it would be the Notes app. Like my brain, it is a scattering of thoughts, loose organization, and aspirations.

It isn’t complete chaos, however. Despite being loosely structured, it brings balance to my life. …


How to cultivate an effective creative mindset.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

A competent creator has many underrated qualities, namely:

  • Spotting a good story.
  • Knowing what not to publish.
  • The ability to form relationships with like-minded creators and editors.
  • A solid business brain.
  • Knowledge of their audience’s likes and dislikes.

If you’ve made your way through that list and ticked those off, then I applaud you. I’d like to think I have those myself. It means you’re good at what you do.

But there’s one I’ve overlooked in the past. You might have as well.

The mindset is the creator’s secret weapon. When set up correctly, it can bring you back from…


Moving beyond a growth mindset.

Photo by Sebastian Knoll on Unsplash

As of March 2021, there are 50 million YouTube creators on the site. Estimated figures show Medium has 175,000 writers, with 20,000 new articles uploaded every day.

So no, you’re not alone. Although it certainly might feel like it.

When I first began my content creation experience, I felt utterly alone. Sure, there were thousands of other writers, but they were all behind an avatar and some words.

I felt like a single thorn amongst thousands of leaves. I zoned in on my poor stats and nitpicked everything I did. It leads to months of going nowhere.

I failed to…


Sometimes, there is no dramatic ending

Image source: The Telegraph

In almost any film, the denouement is an absolute necessity. Let me explain.

Simply put, denouement is when action or inaction gives a resolution to an essential aspect of a story. A superb example of this is in La La Land, one of my favorite films (spoilers ahead).

Towards the end of the story, aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz-obsessed Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) agree to focus on their dreams. Five years down the line, Mia, now a famous movie star, walks into Sebastian’s jazz bar — ‘Seb’s’ — with her new husband.

Shortly after the epilogue, Mia follows her…


Chinese negotiators use it to get what they want.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

During my four years in retail, I learned the power of silence.

I spent many hours in the store by myself. Devoid of staff or customers to talk with, silence became second nature. As a result, I’m more than happy to let my brain float around and go down whatever avenues it desires.

However, I realized that often wasn’t the case with customers.

It was strange; if I didn’t speak for a few seconds, some people would happily stand and wait. Others would reach for their phone, but a surprising number of people overshared information about themselves. I didn’t understand.


What ‘About Time’ can teach you about happiness

Photo by Christian Sterk on Unsplash

In About Time, Tim Lake, played by Domhnall Greeson, has the unique ability to travel through time.

Throughout the film, Tim uses this to his advantage — helping his friends, replaying an awkward interaction until he gets it right, and even having sex with his future wife, Mary, for the first time. But it’s not all smooth sailing.

Despite this godly power, Tim encounters plenty of issues. The ability to fix problems creates new ones, and he starts focusing on the negative things in life, despite having a healthy family and a solid job.

It seems, then, that even with…


Become an expert at reading people.

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

You’ve likely never met someone’s ‘true self.’

People put on facades all of the time. You might not want to broadcast your private life at work, so you’re reserved. Your friend’s perception of you might be different from that of your parents because you show different sides of your personality

While this is entirely normal, it can lead to wasting time on the wrong relationships. When I was at university, I dove into a friendship I thought seemed great to begin with, but it soon turned sour. It left me pondering my future, and I almost quit. …


Three years ago, I didn't know what they were. Now I can’t live without them.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

As I type these words, my ears are sitting comfortably inside my noise-canceling headphones. The blissful sound of nothing but music accompanies almost every single word I type. I can’t hear the hoover, the dog barking, or the keyboard clicking. Productivity bliss.

It wasn’t always like this, however. For years, I didn’t know what noise-canceling headphones were. I’d buy a £10 pair of Skullcandy earphones, use them for a few weeks until they broke, and repeat the process. When I was anywhere but in my room, the music felt secondary. …


Don’t worry; we are all in the same boat.

Image by LUM3N from Pixabay

One year into my content creation journey, and I’m still facing fears.

It’s scary knowing your work is out there for the world to see. It’s yours, and you’re responsible for its quality.

But that’s the life you and I signed up for — to live, breathe, and face our fears on a near-daily basis. Here are some that spring to mind:

  • Never feeling good enough
  • Negative comments (‘haters’)
  • Confidence crisis
  • Fear of unoriginality
  • Fear of what people close to you will think

Left unchecked, these fears can derail your entire creative process. That costs valuable time and potential money.

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