The challenge is not to perform when we are at our best but to make the most of our worst days.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Pars Sahin on Unsplash

As my boyfriend likes to remind me, how we handle our bad days is far more important than how we do on our good ones.

The problem, of course, is that a bad day is, per definition, one where everything just feels meh.

It’s those days where even after 20 minutes the words don´t come. 20 minutes turn into 30, 50. An hour later, you got a mere 500 words onto the page, just to realize that this ramble will turn in no good article. You are frustrated because you´ve just wasted an hour writing -well, nothing of use.

From then on, everything gets worse. You have a hard time focusing on online classes. You make bad food choices and end up feeling bad about it. At the end of the day you did not accomplish really anything, yet don´t have the energy to do much either. …


Practicability is overrated.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Windows on Unsplash

When I tell people I study Philosophy I usually get one of two kinds of responses.

“Oh — you must be smart” is one. Though flattering, it makes me kind of cringe because other than biology students becoming biologists, I am not becoming a Philosopher by studying it.

“Oh — you are a future cab driver” is the other. The wording is different of course, but the hint that I won´t be able to find a job is obvious.

Through the past years, it seems to have become obvious — Philosophy — just like other social sciences and liberal arts — are a waste of time because they are so utterly impractical. …


To provide value, remove the harmful

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

Good content is giving people what they did not knew they needed. Bad content, on the other hand, is giving what you can offer without considering the needs of the reader.

This can take different outlooks. One is giving the reader something he readily reads but which does not add value to his life in any way. Another form of bad content is giving him something that looks like something he needs but isn´t — like predatory self-help and advice he is unable to implement.

I just realized that most of the time ever since I started writing, I produced bad content. To be honest, I think that my content is still bad most of the time. I don´t say this to beat myself up, but because I think that most of the time, I am lucky when what seems important and worth writing about to me can provide value for a handful of people. …


If you want to excel at something, learn to identify your own mistakes

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash

The problem with advice is that it only gets you so far. This is not because it is bad or does not apply to the situation, but rather that it is advice from someone else.

Let me explain what I mean.

I´ve written one advice article so far that did fairly well (for my share, that is). To be exact, I got 57 views, 28 reads, and 13 fans. I don´t know how this ratio looks for other writers, but besides different numbers, I think it might be similar. There are views — all the people who saw the article. Then there are the reads — those who were so interested they took a few minutes or even seconds of their day to take a closer look at it. And then there are the fans — those few who found my writing helpful. …


Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay to be independent

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Every time I hit ‘publish’ I am scared of getting criticized. I know I shouldn´t, but that does not change a thing.

It is one of the most hurtful, yet profound experience for every writer — moreover, for everybody who creates anything.

In his memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Murakami writes:

“It’s not much fun to be misunderstood or criticized, but rather a painful experience that hurts people deeply. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve gradually come to the realization that this kind of pain and hurt is a necessary part of life. If you think about it, it’s precisely because people are different from others that they’re able to create their own independent selves. …


What we can learn from ideas nobody talks about anymore

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

Outside academia, Philosophy falls into two camps — the useful, ‘timeless wisdom’ we can apply to live healthier, happier, and better lives, and then there is the rather outdated stuff nobody wants to talk about.

For example, Aristotle’s view on friendship is still read and written about, yet his notion of procreation as “an active, ensouling masculine element bringing life to an inert, passive female element” makes people rather uneasy.

To abandon philosophy — especially older ideas — is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. …


Focus on your work, not your feelings about it

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

In Lex Friedman’s recent Podcast episode with Joe Rogan, he said something that stuck with me since:

“I am not a fan of my work. I am not a fan of what I do. I am my harshest critic. I don´t like anything I do. That’s the only way you can be good as a comedian. You have to be like picking apart everything you do, but there’s a balance to that too, because you have to have enough confidence to get out there and perform.”

Think of Joe Rogan what you want. But he is a workhorse and what he has accomplished while working on himself as a person is truly remarkable. …


The skills most important for someone with a higher education are not taught in shool

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

I don´t mean to brag when I say that I´ve always been good at school.

It simply never felt very hard. Sure, I´ve messed up some classes and have to study just like everyone else, but it´s nothing I ever found hard to do.

Back then, it was kinda cool. After all, I was part of the kids winning the game. Now, it scares me.

To be good at school does not look like success anymore. It´s the dropouts, the ones who barely made it thorugh, the ones who never went to college. …


‘Own It’

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Alex Samuels on Unsplash

I will never forget our college professor for English in my first years of college.

In her writing class, she taught so much more than writing. I still remember her thin statue, tiny arms and legs in her bright dress, her radiant eyes and her short brown coloured hair. Somewhere in her seventies, she was one of the liveliest and most vigorous professors I´ve ever met.

She taught us to see writing like a craft. First you carve out the structure, drawing the lines around everything in your head. …


What does it mean to be free?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Hunter Matthews on Unsplash

The current pandemic broke loose a discussion about freedom that seems to divide society in two camps. While one side values freedom from fear and illness, others press for their freedom from restrictions and government interventions.

It´s our very current problems that give rise to questions what it means to be free. While everybody wants freedom, it seems to be the question what we mean by that we can´t find common ground for.

What does it mean to be free?

What form of freedom is more important? And is freedom something which is given to — or taken from — us, something we receive from without, or is it something we choose, something, in other words, we are free to be? …

About

Friederike Andrae

Philosophy undergraduate. Collecting ideas & trying to be less wrong. Let´s chat — andraefriederike@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store