How Even the Habitually Tardy Can Achieve Peak Punctuality and Never Be Late Again

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

When I worked as a therapist, one of my clients — I’ll call her Maria — was constantly late. Ten or 20 minutes into every session, Maria would bluster into the room in a swirl of breathless apologies. She always looked sort of windswept. She existed in a state of perpetual panic and disorientation.

How many times have you had to skip breakfast, leave your shirt unironed, or leave your apartment with wet hair to avoid being late? How often do you find yourself running out of necessity, rather than out of a desire to keep fit?

It’s hard to…

How embracing life’s ugly side can help you find meaning and fulfillment

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Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

In 1952, Norman Vincent Peale published The Power of Positive Thinking. In contrast to psychoanalysis, with its obsession with disorder and neurosis, Peale’s work advocated relentless optimism.

When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by a law of attraction tends to bring the best to you.

Peale’s message was well-meaning — a Christian plea for faith in the face of adversity and gratitude for one’s lot. His work has been highly influential. Donald Trump attributes Peale’s philosophy to having helped him survive one of his more disastrous periods of bankruptcy. …

Break out of your approval-seeking mindset

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Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

As part of my training as a therapist, I underwent personal therapy for two years. Two years is a lot of therapy.

I spent the first few sessions vomiting out what I considered to be the most therapy-appropriate material. Anything resembling childhood trauma. Reflections on my recent period of serious illness. The time a gang of strangers assaulted me.

Around week six, what I thought of as the “B”-grade material started coming out. Reflections on my perceived inadequacies, previous relationships, money worries.

But one thing kept coming up. Something I wasn’t expecting. …

A Humbling Experience

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

A year ago I had my last ever “debate” on Facebook. I was staying with my wife’s family at the time. We were all having dinner, but my mind was elsewhere. I would leave the table intermittently, go to another room, and furiously tap out a reply to my supposed adversary.

I can’t remember what the argument was about. I certainly can’t say if I won or lost. But part-way through, I confronted myself. What am I getting out of this? Who benefits from this interaction?

I deleted the Facebook app that evening. I’d been logging onto the desktop site…

Learn to thrive in difficult situations by mastering your feelings, thoughts, and behavior

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I wasn’t in trouble very often at school, but once when I was 10 I did something really bad. A friend of mine, Charlie, approached me from behind by surprise and grabbed the back of my neck.

Without thinking, I spun around and punched Charlie hard on the nose.

Twenty minutes later I was in my headteacher’s office, covered in Charlie’s blood.

My headteacher, Mr. Jones, wasn’t a bad guy. He was quite kind to me at first. But I was overcome by the situation — something about the power dynamic and my own vulnerability made me petrified. I was…

The best way to find it is to stop looking

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Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

A few years ago, I got sick. Death was a real possibility — at one point, I prepared for the worst. But after three weeks in the hospital, some life-changing surgery and a whole load of morphine, I emerged — stick thin, balding, and jaundiced, but alive.

My response to this experience was rather cliched. The brevity of my existence became sharply apparent. I cursed myself for wasting my youth getting wasted and playing video games. At one point I may even have sworn to “live life to the fullest”. I was determined to discover my life’s purpose and meaning.

These scientifically-proven study habits helped me beat my exams while still enjoying my life

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

When I told my wife about my plan to do a law degree, her reaction was not quite what I expected:

“You’re joking. How will you find the time?”

Then I told her I was planning to get straight A’s, and bag the prize for Best First Year Student (these things matter in a subject like law). She believed in me — but I’m not sure she really believed me.

I set out to do this while also:

  • Working 40+ hours in the office;
  • Fathering an 18-month old baby;
  • Writing freelance as a side-hustle;
  • Lifting weights for four or five…

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If you’ve ever read a self-help book, you may recognize the following pattern. The author starts with an anecdote. Then they try to persuade you that their book is not like other self-help books. You believe them, and it feels good. This is the book that will change your life.

By the mid-way point, you’ve raised your eyebrows at a few things. The model is beginning to lose its appeal. Do they really expect you to do apply this stuff?

I’ve read my fair share of self-help books. Many are forgettable, but there are some that have made an impression…

Robert Bateman

Practical, evidence-based personal development advice.

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