Want to be more creative? Adopt this counter intuitive mindset

The idea that creativity requires boundless freedom is deeply flawed. After all, why do so many of our most beautiful art forms involve specific constraints? A haiku involves 17 syllables over 3 lines, juxtaposing two images. Silent films used mise en scene to convey a narrative through visuals alone. Folk music often recycles the same simple lyrics and melodies (such as House of The Rising Sun and Stand By Me) countless times.

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A simple framework for avoiding regret and making confident decisions

Regret is one of the most painful feelings any of us can experience. It hurts because regret is, more often than not, based on our own choices and not external events.  We can't fix it in retrospect and it's hard to know what the catalyst will be. As Kurt Vonnegut put it, the saddest words anyone can say are ‘It might have been.’

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Millennials, minimalism and avocado toast : a complicated story

The contrast between buying avocado toast (or takeout coffee or spirulina bites or bubble tea) and saving up for a house illustrates the gulf between the values of my generation and older people. Millennials are not dumbasses who fail to understand that money spent on brunch cannot be used for a deposit. We don’t splurge all our money at Pret, then scratch our heads at the sight of a negative bank balance, forlornly asking “Where did it all go?” We are not too stupid to realise that it is possible to make your own avocado toast.

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How I reclaimed my ability to focus and started getting more done in less time

The ability to focus (especially on difficult work) is one of the most important skills we can develop. Meaningful work does not get done in a few fractured minutes snatched throughout the day.  Intense concentration on specific, goal orientated tasks is not just more productive - it is also a precious asset which happens to be both inwardly and outwardly satisfying. The goal is to be able to enter a flow state, where time passes unnoticed and the rewarding nature of deep focus makes any sort of work enjoyable. Sure, we can outsource, delegate, minimise and simplify. But that alone is not enough to generate true value. 

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the value of books as an antidote for depression

We all have a tendency to picture our life as a story, with neat chapters and chains of events. As Hayden White has written, we cope with the past by finding morals and lessons in it. Depressions cuts chunks of out the narrative. I have blank spaces in my memory lasting months from times when I was too absorbed in the pain to be aware of what was happening around me. Books help us to recreate a new narrative.

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