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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Creativity

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How data distracts us from feeling joy

Photo: Hybrid via Unsplash

How much? How many? These are the questions our gadgets answer for us all day long: We see how many steps we walked, minutes we spent tossing or turning overnight, hours we started at a screen. But technology can’t measure everything. Other, more nebulous concepts, like happiness, creativity, and pain, are harder to translate into data. And yet, we humans love to try.


All you have to do is cooperate with a demon

Illustration by Draden Ferguson

Sometimes hard work pays off, but sometimes it makes things harder. If you’ve ever struggled to fall asleep, you know what I’m talking about. It’s always easier to fall back asleep when you stop trying so hard.


✍️ Today’s tip: Copy out a passage by your favorite writer.


The habit can help drive your best ideas forward

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

Earlier this year, I wrote about the seven emails you should send every week to get ahead in your career. Getting into people’s inboxes can help you strengthen your connections, stay top of mind as opportunities come up, and learn about industry trends. But sometimes, you want to dive deeper than a few paragraphs. For that, my tool of choice is the good, old-fashioned phone call.


How to live your life on a need-to-know basis

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

I recently offered this piece of unsolicited advice to an author whose first book had just been published: “Don’t be constantly checking your Amazon rank. Limit yourself to 30 times a day.”


💡 Today’s tip: If you’re bored with something, stop doing it.


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.


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.


🌭 Today’s tip: Try making your favorite condiment.


Researchers have found that our thoughts and choices can be transformed by physical interaction with objects

Photo: MirageC/Getty Images

At some point, I subconsciously decided that “open computer” equals “working.” So each morning, that’s what I do: flip open my laptop and get to work. Or rather, I try to work. The problem is, I often find myself thinking in circles, returning to my inbox, or feeling totally stuck.

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