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Man looks at his phone while sitting at his desk.
Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

I’ve been texting with three friends about politics since the 2020 presidential election season began back in, what was it? 1999? 2007? And I’m not sure a day has gone by without us texting about poll numbers or election anxiety.

A politics thread allows you a certain level of vulnerability and candor that Facebook doesn’t (or shouldn’t at least), yet it’s more useful and uplifting than, like, saying to your dog, “I’m cautiously optimistic about indies in Sumter County!”

It’s been the single most important source of information for me about how the election is going and about how my…


There is power in sitting this one out

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The news of the past few days has inspired a flurry of group texts and confused conversations among my friends and colleagues. And the general consensus is that no one knows how to feel right now.

What are we to make of the fact that the Science-Denier-in-Chief tested positive for Covid-19, after flouting all the advice we hoped everyone else in America would follow and in fact spreading bad information that may well have led to increased spread of the disease? That he is — or isn’t! — or is? — in the hospital? Is this karma? And/or: Is it…


Language is a virus, and you can help flatten the curve

Photo: Ella Fields/Getty Images

The Beat writer William Burroughs once said that language is a virus from outer space, and he didn’t mean it allegorically.

Fake news, long before the phrase entered the national lexicon, was part of his evidence: Pieces of misinformation spreading quickly from person to person behave just like “viral mechanisms,” Burroughs said — aliens invading unwary hosts, feeding and growing stronger as they spread.

With the unprecedented communication power of the internet and social media, linguistic virality has reached epic proportions. The writer and futurist Richard Watson has gone so far as to say that we are living in an…


The death of stuff is greatly exaggerated

Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Everything is dead now. Self-help is over. I don’t know what remote-access VPN is, but that’s done, too. The office has died. Not the show, which will stream until the sun turns into a lump of coal, but the actual physical space of an office. The bra has also died. If you read The Atlantic, you have attended impromptu funerals for men, reality, work, democracy (fair enough), and the American church. Newspapers and magazines, travel marketing (oh no!), comedy, and mayonnaise have all died. This very publication has indulged in the phrasing from time to time.

Reading about the mythical…


Our natural biases make us focus on scary news, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in fear

Photo: pixelfit/Getty Images

We all do it about a hundred times a day: Open our preferred news app; read a terrifying headline about scary new health research; experience that now-familiar anxiety level spike. Consume too much media and it can feel like the world is ending every day. Trust me, I get it.

As a doctor, I get my medical information from validated scientific sources. But when I want to catch up on the latest “health tips” that my patients might be seeing, I check my Facebook feed. …


The revolution for Black lives will not be televised — but it probably will be tweeted

Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

“This is a movement, not a moment.” While activist Tarana Burke originally said these words in reference to the #MeToo movement that she created, the message is equally relevant in the fight for Black lives. As the media-fueled outrage begins to dissipate, it’s incredibly important to maintain the momentum. One effective place to do this: Twitter.

Yes, the social media platform has a reputation for being an echo chamber where memes flow more freely than meaningful dialogue, and it’s unusual to see a Twitter debate where anyone changes their viewpoint (as Joshua Adams noted on OneZero, Facebook is likely a…


We have to unlearn the habit of staying silent about racism

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

It started out as a choice between two words: “murder” and “death.”

As thousands marched across the country to protest the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, I had been wondering how to be a better anti-racist ally, and a more supportive ally to black people. But when an opportunity to do so arose during my work as a journalist, I wasn’t prepared for how awkward it would feel.

In an article that I submitted to my editor last week, I used the word “murder” to describe the way George Floyd was killed. But…


The coronavirus pandemic can lead to an obsession with checking our phones. Here’s how to change your news habit.

Photo: Jose Luis Palaez/Getty Images

We try to make sense of the biggest news event of our lifetime, it feels natural, even calming, to turn to one of our most trusted habits: the flick, scroll, click. It’s been there for us in times of anxiety, of boredom, of grief — the mindless, calming power of immersing ourselves in the internet.

But right now, what feels like a self-soothing act is anything but: Each shocking link ratchets up our emotions and gives the middle finger to the prefrontal cortex of our brains, which helps regulate our emotions and make sound decisions.

And we’re wired to keep…


The Best of Forge 2019

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and other insights from Forge

Illustration: Ruohan Wang. Originally appeared in A New Way to Recover From Creative Burnout.

We’re all capable of creativity, and we all want more of it. But we often feel robbed of the time and focus we need to actually make something.

Here at Forge, we don’t fetishize the habits of geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs. Very few of us have what author Herbert Lui calls “vast, unbroken slabs of time.” And creativity is not “a series of eureka moments,” as Anna Codrea-Rado writes. Indeed, “creating is hard, frustrating, sometimes even depressing or boring.”

Still, there are methods to help us activate our creativity and nurture our ideas. Creative work is…


Pitching can be difficult. We’re here for you.

Photo: Koson Rattanaphan/EyeEm/Getty Images

Editor’s Note, February 2021: We are currently not taking unsolicited pitches! If you’ve written a piece you think would be great for Forge, we invite you to write it on your own Medium profile and then send us a link at forge@medium.com — if we love it, we’ll contact you about featuring it in Forge. Thanks for your interest, and happy writing!

Hi! We’re so glad you’re here, and we are excited to have you pitch your awesome idea for a Forge story. But first…

Forge is Medium’s personal development publication. We love stories about productivity, self-improvement, optimization, personal progress…

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