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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Productivity

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How I’m fighting my critical inner resistance, one day at a time

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There is a buzz in my brain. A hum. Like, when you go to a hotel room that has a kitchenette in it, and the low sound of the refrigerator keeps you up all night until your boyfriend sits bolt upright in bed and maniacally rips the plug out the wall? You know, like that.

The hum is restless anxiety of ‘needing to get stuff done’. It’s similar to that nagging sensation when you feel like you forgot something, but you’re not sure exactly what.

When I listen closely and intently, the hum starts to have a needling voice that…


Maybe there’s something you’re trying to hide

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If you ever consume information about nutrition, relationships, fitness, or productivity, then you know that people often make things overly complex. Sometimes complexity is necessary but often it is not, and it can make things worse rather than better.

On the supply side, many people make things complex so they can sell them. It is hard to monetize the basics. But come up with an intricate and sexy-sounding approach to pretty much any endeavor and people will pay⁠ — and often a lot⁠ — for it. But what about the demand side? …


A neuroscientist is discovering that time in nature is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase happiness and productivity. Here are the specific doses that work the magic.

Photo by Silvestri Matteo on Unsplash

In my new book The Comfort Crisis, which looks at the benefits of engaging with forms of mind-and-body-enhancing discomfort our ancestors faced every day, I spend a section unpacking all the benefits of the outdoors … of which, I found, there are a metric shit-ton.

The problem: Most of us today rarely experience the natural world. We spend 93 percent of our time indoors. More than half of Americans don’t go outside for any type of recreation at all. That includes the simple stuff like walking and jogging. The time we spend outdoors has declined over the past few of…


At a recent press conference, an interviewer asked how he keeps his mind right

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In the midst of the NBA finals, following a string of awe-inspiring performances, 26-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked during a press conference how he keeps his mind right. His three-part answer, in his own words: “Focusing on the past is ego. Focusing on the future is pride. Focusing on the present is humility.”

What zen-master Giannis is saying, I think, is that when you are fully (or at least close to fully) in the present moment, you are automatically humbled.

Whatever happened in the past does not matter.

Whatever might happen in the future does not matter.

All that matters…


A 10-minute exercise that can help you get a handle on everything that’s happening in your life

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There’s a drawing by New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck that I think about often. A cross-section of a woman’s brain reveals partitions containing everything from thoughts about the climate disaster and work deadlines to what to have for lunch and the prospect of kangaroos going extinct.

It’s funny because it’s true: Our brains comprise so much, from the utterly inconsequential to the terrifyingly existential, all day every day.

But when life feels overwhelming — and truly, when does it not?—I’ve noticed that my brain’s system for allocating real estate can go a little haywire. I will start to make space…


A “digital detox” probably won’t fix what’s broken. Here’s what will.

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Not so long ago, I came to believe that I was prioritizing technology over the most important people in my life — including, most painfully, my daughter.

It hit me hard one day when the two of us were playing games from an activity book. The first activity involved naming each other’s favorite things. The next project was to build a paper airplane with one of the pages. The third was a question we both had to answer: “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

I wish I could tell you what my daughter said at that…


Why slower and smaller is often better

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For myriad reasons, the culture of the past two decades has been obsessed with growth. I am going to call this the growth era. In the growth era, it doesn’t so much matter what you are growing — your company, your audience, your income, your network, your muscles, or the size of your house — but just that you are growing. Growth is good, the story goes, and growth is an end in and of itself.

Perhaps it is time reconsider this convention. What if smaller is better?

In my coaching practice, very rarely do I help people get and…


And it’s allowed me to operate from a position of abundance

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

On my weekly walks with my parents, my dad likes to tell goofy stories, things he picked up over his long life (he’s 82) and wants to share with us. We don’t share the same sense of humor, exactly (he’s prone to puns and I hate them, say), so I usually listen with half an ear, trying to exercise my patience now that I’m old enough to have gained some, and preparing a suitable laugh, so my dad doesn’t feel bad.

But the story he told me a few Fridays ago was riveting. There was an old man, he said…


There’s real power in minimizing your choices

The more choices we have the better, or so we think. But that’s not always the case. Constraints, that is, artificially minimizing choices, are becoming increasingly important to our mental health. We should embrace them in more areas of our lives.

Here’s why: In a world where technology is accelerating, you have access to what, for all intents and purposes, is infinity in more areas of your life. …


For your next big thing—whatever that thing may be—consider going at it alone

Illustration © Ross McCammon

Because I’m writing this story alone, I don’t need to discuss with anyone how to start it off. So it will start with a story (an efficient story, I promise) about how for years I fundamentally misunderstood my mother’s experience raising me. It will end with a call to action, but this is how it’s going to start.

My parents split up when I was only a few months old. As I grew older and began to understand what raising a child actually entails, I built a narrative of struggle around my mother’s life. The image was: My mom was…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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