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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Personal Development

In Forge. More on Medium.

It’s not: “Do you like it?”

Photo: Christin Hume/Unsplash

I recently wrote a pilot TV script with a girlfriend of mine. Neither of us had ever done anything like this before. As I sent out the draft to a few trusted friends, I was about to type: “Do you think this is any good?”

But I stopped myself. Instead, I wrote, “Can you please help us make this better?”

I’m a seasoned entrepreneur and a novice writer. I’m learning that the same rules apply to both roles. Whether I’m crafting a script or a business plan, it’s up to me to decide when it is “good enough” for the…


🥝 Today’s tip: Try an unexpected kind of fruit.

It’s really hard to come up with anything interesting to say over dinner when you and your kids have been in the same building staring at screens all day, or when the only new thing on the horizon is a vaccine appointment. But rather than just stare at each other blankly over your next meal or social zoom, try this tip from Catherine Newman: Buy a social fruit.

Newman writes in Cup of Jo, “Whenever someone is shopping or ordering groceries online, I say, ‘Oh, and get some social fruit.’ This…


🦵 Today’s tip: Add a loop band to your squats.

It’s tough to find the motivation to exercise when the pandemic has you feeling like your body’s falling apart. Elemental’s Anna Maltby, also a certified personal trainer, has a fix for creaky knees: Using a loop band during squats “will encourage you to drive your knees out rather than allowing them to collapse in toward each other, and that outward-driving effort fires up your glutes,” she explains. …


🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “How would I define what good work looks like today?”

One reason impostor syndrome can be so hard to shake is that we tend to rely on the wrong tools to beat it. As the therapist Kathleen Smith notes in Forge, confidence is only a Band-Aid. The real cure is objectivity. “The people who tend to be the least anxious about a big meeting or a new promotion are those who can evaluate themselves realistically, without relying too much on praise or criticism from others,” she writes.

Getting that clarity for yourself starts with asking…


Creativity doesn’t need to have an expiration date

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The phrase “unfinished project” brings something specific to mind for each of us. For you, it might be the novel you’ve been working on for the past decade, or the pile of knitting supplies sitting in the corner of your bedroom, or the stack of half-read books collecting dust on your coffee table.

Whatever it is, I’m willing to bet that thinking about it makes you a little uncomfortable. Anything uncompleted tends to have that effect. Oftentimes, the discomfort is not even about the project itself — it’s a reminder of all of your shortcomings and failures. “I’ll never finish…


📥 Today’s tip: Automate your email workflow.

At the end of the day, talking about work over email isn’t the same as producing the work you were hired for. To wrest your working hours from the jaws of your inbox, you must automate your workflow.

In his new book A World Without Email, the productivity mastermind Cal Newport suggests scheduling recurring emails ahead of time and using templates wherever possible. “Make automatic what you can reasonably make automatic,” writes Newport, “and only then worry about what to do with what remains.”

✍️ We want to hear from you. What’s your…


One step to overcome impostor syndrome

Photo: Charlotte May/Pexels

It happens to me more than I’d like: I finally finish a big, complicated story, or have an A+ parenting day where everyone’s happy and fed and no one has any meltdowns — and I’m so focused on the things I did wrong that I can’t even let myself enjoy the win. Well-meaning compliments from my husband or a close friend don’t help much, either, mostly because I don’t believe them. They have to say that, I think. They’re just being nice.

That’s just how impostor syndrome works: No matter how many accolades or compliments you collect, you still don’t…


💃🏾 Today’s tip: Take a virtual dance class together.

You miss your people, but can’t bring yourself to do another Zoom where you stare at each other’s faces and try to find new things to talk about (“So, made any more sourdough lately?”). Why not do something together instead?

On Curious, Kate Stone Lombardi writes about the virtual dance class she’s been taking with her daughter, who lives on the other side of the country. It’s called Dance Church and it streams live on Sundays. “I dance with an abandon I’ve never felt before,” Lombardi writes. “I’m free in mind…


😀 Today’s tip: Set aside time to practice experiencing happiness.

There are lots of reasons to feel terrible right now, and just as many to feel just very deeply blah. These doldrum-moments can build on each other, as Ashley Abramson writes in Forge: “Lapses in pleasure-seeking and feeling can actually impair the brain’s reward systems, like a muscle deteriorating in strength when you don’t use it. On the flip side, experiences of joy — even small, rehearsed ones — can keep those pathways strong.”

So think of something that makes you happy — talking to your funniest friend on the…


Why it’s best to invest in frequent doses of small, nice things

Illustration: Dora Godfrey/Medium

We’ve all heard the maxim that money can’t buy happiness. But what if it sort of can? Or at least a little smidge of happiness? Or think of it this way: Let’s say you’ve found yourself with a bit of extra money. What could you do with it to have the biggest impact on your daily life?

The good news is that money really can make life better. The bad news is that we tend not to take human psychology into account as we make our money decisions. …

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