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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Writing

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Trying to build a habit can backfire if you fall for the ‘habit trap.’

Photo: Fiordaliso/Getty Images

These days, when someone says they want to form a “habit,” what they often mean is that they want to make drudgery effortless. That is, they don’t want to actually do the work, rather they want to have done it — past tense.


What a computer game about life has taught me about life

(Illustrations — Mark Starmach)

The turn of the 20th Century to the 21st Century was marked with many things — Y2K, the Sydney Olympics, Beanie Baby hysteria and ill-fitting jeans.

But none have impressed themselves as deeply into my psyche than the computer game franchise, ‘The Sims’.

First released in 2000, ‘The Sims’ was conceived by American game designer Will Wright, the mastermind behind a slew of highly successful simulation games in the 1990’s like ‘SimCity’, ‘Sim Theme Park’, and the oft-overlooked ‘SimAnt’. In each game the objective was to build, monitor and maintain the simulation of a complex system with many moving parts…


The words don’t matter, as long as they are kind

You should write a love letter today.

If you’re carrying unspoken feelings, write a love letter. Be prepared for major anxiety about whether you used the right postage, had the right address, or chose the right words. Be prepared not to know when they’ll receive it or whether you’ll receive anything back. If you do receive a response by mail — keep it. Save it. You’ll read it differently in 5, 10, 30 years, and understand layers previously invisible to your impatient mind.

If you’re the parent of a young child, and find yourself staring at their little pink shrimpy…


If you’re self employed, ask yourself these two questions before taking on your next project

Photo by Nicolas Brulois on Unsplash

I’ve always felt most comfortable working for myself. I decide when I work, what’s worth it and what’s not, and I don’t have to pretend to be loyal to the amorphous concept of “company culture”—a phrase which has always made me feel slightly nauseous.

However, having recently returned to self employment after some time away, I’m rethinking how I approach working for myself. Specifically, which work I say yes to, and which work I decline.

When I first started working as a self employed writer more than ten years ago, I was very much in the “say yes to everything”…


Start with a tease, and other ways to captivate an audience of 1 or 1,000

Photo: Jimmy Kimmel Live

For me, the late-night talk show has always represented a shameless form of star worship. How could a serious consumer of culture enjoy it? The fake laughter. The manufactured drama. The over-the-top host. It all screams phony!

But recently I’ve reconsidered. Talk shows are one of the few remaining forms of oral storytelling consumed on a wide scale. Sure, they may be canned and corny, but they offer actionable lessons on how to create character, build anticipation, and empathize with an audience. …


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…


You’ve know that journaling has great benefits. But how do you even start?

Photo: Erdark/Getty Images

It might surprise you that as someone who teaches journaling and recommends it so frequently, the practice used to feel hard, confusing, painful, and weird to me. I was extremely resistant to it. I couldn’t see the use of journaling; my mind was already loud and chaotic and full of thoughts racing over one another and I didn’t get the point of writing them down on paper.

I think one reason I was resistant was that I just didn’t know how to start. It seemed overwhelming. I was just supposed to pick up a pen, stare down a blank page…


Meet Clarence, the self-doubt toad that sits on my shoulder

Photo: Holger Langmaier/EyeEm/Getty Images

A couple years ago, I asked one of my clients for a quarterly review. She wrote back, “I’m not just pleased with how things are going—I’m thrilled.”

Only I misread, and my heart trip-hammered. Could I be getting fired after just three months? What I’d read was this: “I’m just not pleased with how things are going.”

I felt like I’d been sucker-punched — all the blood drained from my head and I immediately began to wonder if they’d let me try and improve before they replaced me. And then I read again and slowly returned from my black hole…


Human beings aren’t robots or mind readers

Photo: We Are/Getty Images

I know you’re busy, so let’s start strong. There’s nothing you can do that will “make” someone do what you want them to do. I’m very sorry, but I see no benefit to you if I lie and say that your passive behaviors will magically result in the outcome you’re too scared to ask for. It’s 2021, babes — I’ve neither the patience nor the marbles left in my head to coddle fools.

As humans, we have a bad habit of thinking we can do something that will somehow prompt someone else to take the action that we want. We…


📋 Today’s tip: Replace your notebook with notecards.

Everyone has creative ideas, but, unfortunately, many of us also have an inner censor that likes to yell at us about how dumb all those ideas are. Over on Creators Hub, book author Charlotte Bismuth reveals how she outwitted the harsh internal voice that had her destroying her own notebooks for much of her life. Her solution is surprisingly simple: “I’m delegating some work to index cards instead. The drawback of notebooks, of course, is that it’s hard to turn back the pages or work with the contents in a dynamic way.”…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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