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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

High-level 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.


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. …


It doesn’t take much for negative thinking to control your life.

Image by justraveling from Pixabay

Negative thoughts are like “mental monsters. They will eat you (and your dreams) from the inside out,” says entrepreneur Deep Patel. The longer we leave those monsters, the more intimidating they become.

Psychiatrist Daniel Amen goes one step further and describes these monsters as Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT):

“The little voices that pop into your head and tell you you’re not good enough, not thin enough, a rubbish daughter, mother, worker.”

Patel says the best way to repel an ANT is to develop an ANT-eater — “Write your negative thoughts down, and then write down what your ANT-eater would say…


How to leave a lasting impression

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

In the Central American Forests, the Red-capped Manakin frantically dances across branches in search of a mate. He puts his yellow thighs on display, even pulling off an audacious Michael Jackson-style moonwalk.

The Manakin uses his most attractive feature to secure a mate and ensure the survival of his species. If he’s not good enough, the female will move on. The Red-capped Manakin’s legacy literally depends on how attractive their dancing is.

While it’s not as important as that for humans, attractive qualities certainly have their benefits (and I’m not only talking about sex). …


Some tweaks to your vocabulary to positively change your inner dialogue.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

“Damn, I’m no longer Spider-Man.”

I wake up, and my adventure ends. Gone are the weird narratives of my dreams, replaced with a list of things I “need” to do. I already feel behind — my inner voice cursing me.

Our inner voice never leaves us, yet we often neglect it. Negative self small-talk can diminish self-belief and your ability to do something, even if you don’t realize it.

Through some simple tweaks to your everyday vocabulary, you too can attack the day with a shield of positivity and compassion protecting you.

Make Your To-Do Lists Kinder

I’ve experimented with different to-do lists, yet I…


How you can use them to improve your work

Photo by Enayet Raheem on Unsplash

If you are what you eat, then your content is what you consume. It’s only natural that, as a creator, your work is a result of the things you read, watch, and listen to.

I say this as someone who has recently struggled with his creativity. I’ve gone through a rough patch privately, causing me to regress into comfort shows such as Parks and Recreation and The Office. While they make me laugh, they don’t stoke the creative fires I need.

If you value creativity at all, and if you’re a creator like me, you will, then you need to…


The results you desire are often right in front of you.

Image by ShonEjai from Pixabay

“Michael Burry contacted the government several times to see if anyone wanted to interview him to find out how he knew the system would collapse before anyone else.

No one ever returned his calls. But he was audited four times and questioned by the FBI.”

You may have heard of Michael Burry. Played by Christian Bale, he’s the man who became famous for betting against the housing market and making millions on the 2008 crash.

The above quote is part of The Big Short’s aftermath. It signifies the corruption and general dodgy nature of the ‘system’ we live in. …


I still remember meeting my old headmaster like it was yesterday

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

“If you’re not going to try your hardest, stand up now. Seriously, stand up and leave.”

Those were the first words my secondary school headmaster Mr. Dick said to me and my fellow first years.

It almost felt like a command. Some people looked around, wondering, “should I get up?” Of course, no one did, but the authority he spoke with laid the foundation for how he expected us to behave.

In the following years, he maintained a certain gravitas. You didn’t want to get on his wrong side, but if you were a good student, he was pleasant.

That…


You never know who you’re talking to. Not really.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

After three months at university, I realized I had wasted time on the wrong person.

What I thought was a blossoming friendship soon turned into the opposite. To this day, I still don’t know why.

I didn’t have many other friends, and by Christmas, I wanted to drop out. Luckily, I decided to stay. I ended up having two of the best years of my life with friends I’m glad I invested time into.

If those torrid first few months taught me anything, it’s that the wrong people can dramatically affect your life for the worse — perhaps causing irreversible…

Max Phillips

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