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Mark Manson explains how to break free from the ‘confidence conundrum’

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How are you supposed to be confident about something when you have nothing to feel confident about? Like, how are you supposed to be confident in your new job if you’ve never done this type of work before? Or be confident in social situations when you’ve never made a friend before? Or be confident in your relationship when you’ve never dated anyone before?

Try building a “better than nothing” habit

Credit: Kohei Hara/Getty Images

Like many people, I’ve tried to pass the time over the past year by forming some new habits: running, baking, writing every day, learning new card tricks to dazzle friends at future dinner parties (those will be a thing again, won’t they?). Each of these pursuits started strong… until I gave up shortly thereafter.

Paul Ollinger

Why 10,000 hours doesn’t guarantee the success of your dream

Illustration: Dora Godfrey / Medium

In‌ ‌his‌ ‌2008‌ ‌bestselling book ‌Outliers‌,‌ ‌Malcolm‌ ‌Gladwell‌ ‌delivered‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ mainstream‌ ‌the‌ ‌theory‌ ‌that‌ ‌gaining‌ ‌mastery‌ ‌of‌ ‌any‌ ‌craft‌ ‌requires‌ ‌10,000‌ ‌hours‌ ‌of‌ ‌dedicated‌ ‌practice — as he calls it, “the magic number of greatness.”

Ryan Holiday’s favorite lessons on success, relationships, and being a good human

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In his essay On the Happy Life, the philosopher Seneca makes an extended list of rules for living a good life. It’s everyone’s wish to live better, he says, but we are often in the dark on how to do so.

What watching my kid play baseball taught me about life

Filtered image of a young kid hitting a baseball with a bat.
Filtered image of a young kid hitting a baseball with a bat.
Photo illustration; Image source: Shoji Fujita/Getty Images

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

— Babe Ruth, Babe Ruth’s Own Book of Baseball

Watching your child play baseball can be a highly stressful experience, especially when they get up to bat. Your pulse soars and hands tense as you wonder whether they’ll triumph or return to the dugout in defeat.

How you’re strategically avoiding the important work that will lead to success

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Success largely boils down to one piece of advice: Do the real thing. But people keep finding ingenious ways to do anything but.

Success isn’t linear

Photo: Trevor Williams/Getty Images

Every year around this time, the same piece of motivation makes the rounds: If you want to do something new and you practice it regularly, you’ll get a little bit better each time. You may have heard of it as the “1% rule” — the idea that continuously improving by just 1% makes a dramatic difference over time.

Why you can’t be successful unless you know when to give up

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

I come from a small town where 95% of the community practiced the same religion (I was a five percenter. AMA.). At 19, members of this faith are sent far from home to act as missionaries for two years. They can only communicate with family on Christmas and Mother’s Day. For men, going on a mission is essentially a societally imposed requirement (women also go on missions, but to a lesser extent, and it’s not “required”). And coming home early is a stain on a person and their family name. It’s the scarlet letter.

Tallies written with blue ink.
Tallies written with blue ink.
Photo: Jana Krause/EyeEm/Getty Images

Do you know how many posts you’ve put on Instagram? Your number of Medium followers? The number of steps you’ve taken today? Yesterday? Last Monday? Our lives are increasingly quantifiable. And the numbers can be motivating — but they can obscure the reasons why we work out, read Medium, take a walk.


How to quit measuring success by net worth, fancy titles, or TikTok views

Photo illustration; source: Stuart Walmsley/Getty Images

Every other week, Paul Ollinger investigates how redefining success can help us lead better lives.


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