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Obsession with your goals can be just as bad as a pointless existence.

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“Holy shit,” I said to my sister as I picked my jaw up off the floor. “That was beautiful.”

Towards the beginning of the film, the protagonist Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is auditioning for his big break — the chance to play with Dorothea Williams (voiced by Angela Bassett). Playing his beloved piano, his fingers feather the keys as he keeps up with the jazz band. Then, he comes alive. Joe enters a world of his own. The notes swirl around him until a purple and blue euphoria encapsulates him and his piano.

He’s fallen into a state…

Organize your present and lend a helping hand to your future

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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. …

Never feeling like you belong brings out the best in you.

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“You are a writer,” my girlfriend told me. Yet, I still didn’t feel like one.

Even though I write and get paid for it, I refrained from putting that label on for a while. I felt like an impostor.

I still do, but differently. Although I know what I’m doing, I understand I’m a singular grain of sand amongst a vast beach of writers.

That might not be such a bad thing.

If you get too comfortable with where you are, you might start to get complacent. …

Lessons from two Malian men arguing about prostitution.

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I’ve been looking at arguments the wrong way for my entire life.

For so long, I thought it was about winning a battle against a rival. To feel the self-righteousness that comes with your opponent's shameful realization of their wrong-doing. In reality, that’s quite childish.

It all stems from an almost innate need to be right. As psychotherapist Mel Schwartz says, the education system ingrains this from an early age, as students “learn to avoid as best we can the embarrassment of being wrong.” There’s something wrong with that.

Students, and everyone else alike, improve themselves when they learn. Arguments…

Prevent second-guessing your plans and make to-do lists more specific.

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Do you ever find that tasks take a lot longer than you first imagined? Or do you not finish your to-do lists? If yes, then me too.

I would guess how many things I should do, almost always grossly underestimating how long they would take. This became a problem, as although I knew what I was doing, there was no real structure to my day. I floated my way through the list.

As you get older, you realize the value of planning. Perhaps none more so than your day-to-day life. A to-do list is great, but on its own, it’s…

Something to match all of your moods

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I love TV. At the minute, I’m toward the end of Mr. Robot, as readers of my previous articles will know (I can’t get enough of it).

It isn’t the only show I watch, however. I wouldn’t want it to be. I’m not in the mood for an intense drama all the time. There are times I need a comfort show or others when I want to learn something new.

According to streaming-service search engine RealGood, Netflix has nearly 2000 TV shows to choose from. …

The benefits of disorganized thinking

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In my house, the ‘messy drawer’ is filled with various miscellaneous items that don’t have a home.

In one of my desk drawers, I have an old phone case, an unopened bag of spicy peanuts, some deep heat muscle cream, a plug, a deck of cards, and a lot more besides. I’ve made no attempt to organize it, but I don’t need to. I know where everything is — that’s the beauty of it.

As much as we like to plan and organize everything in our lives, we can’t have complete control. You might be financially sound, but a hospital…

With help from the most powerful man in Westeros, Tywin Lannister.

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Protesting to his grandfather, King Joffrey says to Tywin Lannister: “But I haven't been counseled.” With a thousand-yard stare, the Hand of the King replies:

“You are being counseled at this very moment.”

Tywin Lannister. The only man even the King is afraid of. As anyone who watched Game of Thrones knows, Tywin commands the attention of both the viewer and characters like no other. He’s the most powerful man in Westeros, and you feel that power every time he is on screen.

Commanding attention is a useful yet underrated life skill. You can use it to your advantage in…

Become the star of your own film and give your everyday actions more significance.

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Have you ever wondered where those late-night bursts of motivation go? I certainly have. You can be raring to go at night, but once you wake up, everything feels flat once again.

If that sounds like you, you’re likely experiencing ‘present bias’ — where you choose your present self over your future self. You may make grandiose plans before you sleep, but they get lost when you wake up, and everyday life resumes.

This cycle can feel endless. You might search for an outside source to restore you to 100% capacity, but the answer lies within like it often does…

How to stir up your creativity and consistently come up with ideas

A horse.
A horse.

If you’re reading this, you probably have plenty of motivation to write, but you don’t have anything to write about. I know the feeling. However, it doesn’t need to last.

I’ve read lots of ways people attempt to stir up their creativity. Most of the techniques have one thing in common — they perceive it as some free spirit. Sure, there will be moments of inspiration and times you’re not feeling incredibly creative. But creativity is like any muscle. Once it’s trained enough, it becomes more robust and more efficient.

Think of it as an untrained racehorse. Sure, it possesses…

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