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. …
It took three years before my English degree interested me.
In my first year, I didn’t read a single book. Knowing the all I needed to do was pass (it doesn’t count toward your final grade), I relied on spark notes. I coasted through second-year, finding none of the required texts remotely engaging.
Then: boom! When selecting modules for my third and final year, I saw “Holocaust literature.” World War 2 and the horrors of the Holocaust had always interested me, and now I could finally learn about something that interested me.
The texts came in thick and fast. We read Maus by Art Spiegelman, This Way to the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, and the beloved Italian film Life Is Beautiful. …
In 2014, my dad’s life changed forever.
Riding his bicycle home from work, he was rear-ended by a woman in a Land Rover— who hadn’t seen him — while waiting at a roundabout. The impact flung him six feet into the air, crashing back down on the bike, and then rushed to the hospital.
His body practically stopped working. It took multiple surgeries, a big insurance payout, years of therapy, and a lot of determination to make a full recovery. To make things worse, he and my mother were going through a divorce at the time. Then, in August of 2018, he suffered a heart attack. …
In a content-based world, productivity is perhaps the top skill you should be fine-tuning.
I often find that articles are too wide-ranging. Many people advise you to “get in a state of flow” (even I’ve done that in the past). But how do you actually do that? In this article, I will quickly walk you through the tricks that help me consistently write 3000 words a day, every day.
I don’t want to make you wonder, “how do I do that?” These are tips you can begin to apply almost immediately. …
I wasn’t a fan of retail work.
I did it because I needed the money to fund my teenage escapades and keep me busy while I decided what to do after graduating from university. What I thought was a dreary era I’d erase from memory turned into some valuable life skills I still use to this day.
Over the years, I worked in food shops, restaurants, clothing stores, and a health supplier. I faced countless eye-rollers, numerous screaming kids, some delightful people of old ages, and some archaic management styles.
Most of all, I learned about people.
For every hundred customers, there are about ten grumpy ones. …
There’s a quote from Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith, in the 2008 film The Pursuit of Happyness that stood out to me:
“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?”
It’s that very pursuit that binds the film together. It resonates because it’s true. Life isn’t a montage of happy moments, despite what Instagram might want you to believe. …
Life is an endless stream of copy and pasted days.
In the UK, the government recently announced the third in a trilogy of lockdowns. As usual, I will be waking up, writing, exercising, and sleeping. All without leaving the house.
Yet, despite this, I don’t feel my life is plateauing. My goals are changing, and my attitude toward work continues to glow. While this is a combination of many things, it originates from a few realizations, or as I like to call them:
When you enjoy something, you will naturally want to learn more about it.
Habits, on the other hand, can be frustrating. When focusing exclusively on habits, you worry about how long they take to last. Health psychology researcher Phillippa Lally found that, on average, 66 days to form a new habit (although it can range from 18–254 days depending on the person). …
Okinawans live very differently from the rest of Japan. Among other things, they heavily lean on their ‘moai.’ Blue Zones describes a moai as a group of five friends who “meet for a common purpose to gossip, experience life, and to share advice and even financial assistance when needed.”
Families typically form a moai at a young age, as they put children in groups of five. According to Live Science, you lose half and gain new friends every seven years (roughly). In a moai, the group can stay together for upwards of 90 years. The question must be asked:
What is the glue that holds a group together for that long? …
You don’t get handed motivation.
The first lockdown consisted of sun-basked days and wishful summer thoughts. The second (in November) was brief, filled with the hope of a typical Christmas. Now the third is devoid of all motivation, taking both my birthday and Valentine's Day out of the equation.
All hope seems lost.
Motivation often feels like a fickle thing. It seems to pass by in fleeting moments before taking too long to find its way back to us. Like most things in life, your mindset is critical here.
There is no such thing as “not having motivation.” It isn’t something you are given; it’s something you earn. …
When I graduated from university, I had no idea what I was going to do.
I acquired a good grade and was excited about what the future held. I assumed I would follow the path everyone I knew went down: graduate, get a job, begin a career. Sadly, it didn’t go that way.
I ended up in a spiraling pit of misery — endlessly applying for jobs I didn’t want, without knowing what I wanted. I never got further than the first interview and quickly became dejected.
It took me a while to realize that I had only been following one path and made it impossible to grow as a person. …