To What End?

Imitating our idols or knowing the latest science might get you in the door…but that’s not enough to sustain habit change

Illustration of flock of Canadian geese flying
Illustration of flock of Canadian geese flying
Image credit: insemar.

I’m sure you’ve seen this advice endless times here on Medium: “Know Your Why.” It’s one of those airy bits of fluff that writers seem unable to resist. It must have sounded fresh when someone first used it; an amusing anthimeria. But it’s quickly become a tired and meaningless trope in self-improvement advice.

Its purpose is generally to connect you with your reasons for working on something; the thinking is that clarifying those reasons will strengthen your resolve and illuminate your path forward. …

Your ability to do well in high school might hold you back from success in college

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Image credit: Dariia Chernenko.

I never learned how to study and learn properly. When I got to college, it was a rude awakening.

High school classes were easy for me. My natural ability to be conscientious about homework, take tests well, and eagerness to read ahead all contributed to my success at a high school level. When I got to college, I figured it would be more of the same, but maybe even better since I could now study what I wanted.

In reality, I procrastinated. I skipped classes, thinking I could just read the material. When I did read, though, my mind wandered. I highlight the text so I could go back to it later and review the important bits (this was in ancient times, and the first time I actually owned school books and could “deface” them this way…so highlighting seemed magical). …

Sometimes you have to give up on making the right choice to move forward

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Image credit: Anastasiia_New

“I think you can claim your experience. You’ve earned it.”

It wasn’t the advice that I was hoping to hear. A part of me was desperate, instead, for a hint of the right answer—for some reassurance to cling to so I could abdicate making my own decisions.

But the words held wisdom, and I knew I’d have to think more about that phrasing.

We spend so much time, energy, and sheer anxiety on looking for answers. …


Terrie Schweitzer

Editor, Better Humans. Bubbler. Hawk watcher, birder. Permaculture fan. RPCV (Ghana 2011–2013).

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