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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Philosophy

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The space between stimulus and response is an important one. Philosophers have said it is in this space that our freedom lies.

When something unexpected happens — for example, an accident, a pandemic, a competitor acting unpredictably, and so on — people generally go down one of two roads: they…


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There’s nothing like a global pandemic to sap your motivation. When you’re locked in your house, working from home, when your routine is disrupted, when everything that’s happening in the world seems to be negative, it’s easy to say, screw it. Or, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll get…


Making choices based on the desires of others is a part of human nature. But there are ways to counteract the force.

Illustration credit: Liana Finck

Nearly everyone (unconsciously) assumes there’s a straight line between them and the things they want.

I wake up one day and “suddenly” decide that I want to run a marathon. (Amazingly, all of my friends had a similar realization when they hit their midthirties, too.)

I get the brilliant idea…


The best pieces of wisdom gathered from a body of work that spans 2,000 years

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What is the job of a philosopher?

“When the standards have been set,” Epictetus said, “the work of philosophy is just this, to examine and uphold the standards, but the work of a truly good person is in using those standards when they know them.”

Pretty straightforward then: Define your…


A life lesson from a cult-classic Kung Fu movie

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

Ip Man, a Kung Fu movie about the legendary martial arts teacher of the same name, is rated a staggering eight out of 10 on IMDb and considered a cult classic among fans. …


Moral self-examination can lead to self-improvement

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Journaling for self-improvement is nothing new. Daily reflection as moral self-examination goes all the back to ancient Greece and Rome. It was first described in a poem called The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, based on the doctrines of the famous sixth century BCE philosopher. The famous Stoic thinker Seneca wrote:


If you’re wondering why you’re not happy, why things are always hard, try this thought experiment from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius

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We can imagine that Marcus Aurelius was a busy man, perhaps the busiest man in the world. He had 14 children. He was living through a pandemic. He had a nagging stomach ailment. He was taking philosophy classes.

Oh, and he was the emperor of Rome. His domain stretched some…


A list for anyone struggling to see beyond this pandemic moment

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Over the past year, we’ve all been tested. Many of us have failed.

The pandemic made some of us callous. It infected others with conspiracy theories. Too many of us gave into apathy and chaos, losing all sense of structure (and spending who knows how many hours watching Netflix). Now…


Stress is part of life. But suffering because of stress? To the Stoics, that was a choice.

Graphic of a person standing on top of a hill/mountain overlooking a red sun.
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“It’s normal to feel pain in your hands and feet, if you’re using your feet as feet and your hands as hands. And for a human being to feel stress is normal — if he’s living a normal human life. And if it’s normal, how can it be bad?” …


Meditating on our fleeting mortality might sound like a downer, but the ancient practice can help us find more tranquility while we’re here

Photo illustration; Image source: Westend61/Getty Images

A couple weeks ago, I felt a dull ache in my abdomen. It wasn’t painful, but it was persistent and, since the belly houses several mission-critical organs, I decided to get it checked out. My doctor seemed puzzled by my nonspecific symptoms, especially since a recent colonoscopy and upper GI…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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