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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Inspiration

In Forge. More on Medium.

4 practical ways to make the ordinary feel extraordinary

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

It was time to say goodbye to the Formica table that had graced my kitchen in Chicago, in New York and in suburban Los Angeles. The thing had so many memories tied to it, though — irrationally long dinners with friends; a brunch date with my friend Jo and her octogenarian aunt; countless letters penned on it — that I hoped it’d go to someone really cool.

I got lucky. S— answered my ad. Later, she sent me a text of my table looking happy in a corner of her home, with a plant on it and everything. We started…


The question will save you from disappointment

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Wouldn’t it be nice to experience greater fulfillment in life?

Everyone has aspirations and dreams, but they don’t always think things through. Worse, they don’t stop to examine their underlying motivations, and where they might lead.

I’ll bet you know people who are unhappy in their careers. They complain about their bosses, the commute, office politics, and more. Maybe this applies to you?

“How did I get into this mess?” you might ask yourself.

The answer often has to do with money, the expectations of others, and unexamined goals. …


The words that have impacted me the most come from people I know — and who know me

Photo: D E Plume/Getty Images

I’m a big believer that the fastest way to change your life is by carrying a notebook everywhere you go.

Taking note of the interesting things you come across serves as a solid reminder that your primary job isn’t to do more—it’s to learn more. It can help you to be a better listener and life observer. Plus, collecting thoughts has a funny way of generating new sparks.

Since becoming an avid note-taker, however, a glaring pattern’s emerged that’s hard to ignore.

The thoughts and quotes that mean the most to me didn’t come from Tony Robbins. Nor did they…


Even if your work feels mundane, there’s a way to find meaning in it

In Japan, phenomenal customer service is not limited to just high-end luxury shops and hotels. If you walk into any regular store, you will likely be greeted by an employee who will politely welcome you in, bow to you, and rush to help you as soon as they realize you need assistance. Their uniforms are crisp, clean, and appearance clearly cared for. The shelves are put together, the products aligned and organized. …


Three lessons on how to handle adversity while feeling your feelings

A tree shaped by the wind
A tree shaped by the wind
Photo: Melanie Hobson/EyeEm/Getty Images

I used to think resilience was a tool I just didn’t have. I can be an easy crier. How can one cry frequently and also be resilient? When we think of resilience, we imagine stoic faces, superhero power poses, and triumphant fists in the air. If we do a Google image search for “resilience,” a person shedding tears certainly does not come up.

I don’t think that anymore. It’s a realization that has come from time and age more than any single aha moment, but I know now that — much like how courage is not the absence of fear


Today’s tip: Use “sizeboxing” to get out of a mental rut.

The human brain doesn’t do well with infinite choice. That’s why creative innovation often blooms from the introduction of constraints. One easy method for doing just that is “sizeboxing” — which, simply put, means committing to a specific size for your work.

For Forge writer Herbert Lui, that means jotting each new idea on a 4x6-inch index card. “This keeps me concise,” he writes. “The less time you have, the smaller a size you may want to go with.” But any sizeboxing technique will do the trick: Try…


Photo: Heather Gilderoy

In 2013, the author Jen Sincero scored a #1 New York Times bestseller with her irreverent advice manual, You Are a Badass. Since then, the phrase has quite literally become Sincero’s trademark. So, when Forge recently chatted with Sincero about her latest book, Badass Habits, there was one question we absolutely had to ask: What’s with the ‘badass’?

What we got was a lesson in following your creative intuition.

As Sincero put it:

It’s funny. I never, ever used the word ‘badass.’ I’d never be like, ‘Oh, you’re such a badass.’ That was so not in my vernacular at all…


Creativity needs a balance of order and chaos

Photo: Caspar Benson / Getty

One of my favorite creative tools is a kitchen timer. I set the timer for a few minutes — for a sprint through really boring paperwork or to get started on a big creative project — and then I press start. I give myself a window to work through. After that, I can choose to stop, and sometimes I do. But many other times, I keep going.

My creativity comes from chaotic energy. But left unchecked, the chaotic energy is a breeding ground for obsession, fixation, and compulsiveness. So I do what project managers do: I employ “timeboxing.” …


Turn doomscrolling into joyscrolling

Blue filtered image of a woman with curly hair looking at her phone with a smile.
Blue filtered image of a woman with curly hair looking at her phone with a smile.
Photo illustration; Image source: Delmaine Donson/Getty Images

At this point, we’re all pros at doomscrolling. The end of the presidential election brought a brief respite, but we could really use a longer break. Or a sabbatical, if we’re being honest.

Let us offer you a digital palate cleanser from the gloom: 25 Instagram accounts that will uplift you, make you laugh, and help you feel a little bit more human. Some of these folks share highly relatable illustrations. Others make you feel like you just walked out of a free therapy session. All will help your social-media feed become a place you actually enjoy spending time in.


How to work with your limitations, not against them

Woman stepping through an opening in the wall, head not visible, her leg in the air.
Woman stepping through an opening in the wall, head not visible, her leg in the air.
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Our society does a great job at inspiring, encouraging, and some­times even demanding that we dream big and aim for uniqueness. I’ve fallen for it, too. I spent years of my life pushing myself to think as originally as I possibly could whenever I was brainstorming new art projects. But what I seem to learn over and over again is that the grand, super-original ideas I have, the ones that are truly outside the box, are also so far outside my realm of possibil­ity that they’re almost useless.

So, at a cer­tain point, I began to resist the idea of…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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