Live on your own terms.


Six lessons, illustrated with discontent cats.

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Patdu Photography

Her book was even more beautiful than she was.

Even the cover was easy on the eyes. Out for only a few weeks, it was already on The New York Times best-seller list. She had two ivy league degrees, in English and law. Everyone wanted to talk to her.


Not so much.

I wanted to be her. Watching her made me want to go back in time and slap myself for wasting so much of it.

We were on the same panel at a conference. All the questions came her way. …

Stop watching failure porn.

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Dragana Gordic

I should’ve quit sooner.

It started with the launch of my first book. I’d spent four years working on the stupid thing. It won two major awards, then finally got published with a small indie press, with some glowing reviews.

The book tour was a disaster.

Everything you can imagine going wrong did. Bookstores forgot about my events. Newspapers misprinted dates. Feature writers got the name of my book wrong. They got my name wrong. Reviewers wrote rave reviews that got cut at the last minute. Famous authors offered me speaking events and blurbs and then changed their minds.

Mentors laughed at me. …

Understand how hate works.

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Whether it’s someone hurling insults, or just stealing your work, some of us deal with parades of hate.

Reporting hate doesn’t always work. Even when it does, that doesn’t undo the damage. That’s your job. In school they told us words could never hurt us — a lie. Words injure, sometimes worse than stones. A third-degree black belt once told me, “Words hurt, and they hurt bad.”

I’ve been punched in the face. …

Stop chasing serotonin, and start focusing on your life.

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Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

You spend a lifetime wondering what’s wrong with you— why you always feel like the chalk outline of a person. Why happiness always peeks through the curtains, but never answers.

Someone you love leaves you because, “You’re not happy.” You tell him you are. You beg him to stay.

He forces you to prove it. Prove you’re happy.

You try, but you can’t. You fail.

You aren’t unhappy, just something else

In his breakup sermon, he convinces you that you’re miserable. …

It’s true. A lot of bosses only care about themselves.

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Photo by Diana Nazarali on Unsplash

Bad behavior comes loaded with all kinds of cool features. It’s a luxury item you probably can’t afford.

Take this boss of yours, for starters.

He’s resigning after years of terrible leadership — but keeping his salary, which sextuples what you make. He plans to retire next year, a multi-millionaire with a failed institution in his wake.

The world will never stop cranking out buffoons.

Charles Darwin said it best:

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

— The Descent of Man

Better get used to that, or you’ll die from petition fever. Don’t get too used to it, though. Not so used to it you turn into a sycophant. …

To slow you down with anger, and break you apart.

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Photo by Ismael Sanchez from Pexels

The world is full of toys. My daughter just learned this fact. Yesterday, she grabbed my phone and started playing with the screen. She burst into tears when I had to take it away from her. It was the first time she’d ever looked at me with that mix of hurt and scorn. But she bounced back in minutes— found something else to play with.

The moment reminded me of a relentless truth about goals and desires. …

Because nobody listens to her until she gets pissed off.

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Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

Yesterday some dude came up to my table, snapped a lid on my ice coffee, and shoved a straw in it. “You don’t want to spill that all over your laptop,” he said. “I’m just looking out for you.”

Yeah, he topped it off with a wink.

Someone’s always explaining why they shoved a straw in my drink. Metaphorically speaking…

Sounds like one of those first world problems. Right? But it scales. …

If nothing else, you can ditch these bad habits.

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Happiness, thinkers have tried to figure that one out for thousands of years. They’ve come up with squat.

You’ve probably met plenty of rich assholes who still seem miserable. Not that it justifies global poverty.

Just sayin’ — robbing the poor doesn’t make you any happier than actually being poor, nine times out of ten.

It just ups the stock price of your agony.

Maybe you’ve seen this movie, There Will Be Blood. It’s a study in sadness. The main character, Daniel Plainview, generates a vast fortune — with nobody to share it with. …

For starters, it was invented by Donald Trump’s pastor.

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Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash

Praying Barbie, you could buy one in the 1950s. It was a time of renewed faith and spirituality. Housewives were so happy, they slammed 1.2 million pounds of sedatives per year.

Anyone who procrastinated or cried too much ran the risk of being classified with an “Inadequate Personality” by a psychiatrist, and subjected to electroshock treatment.

Everybody lived in fear of the nuke.

Even little Donald Trump went to church, where he listened to sermons by the reverend Norman Vincent Peale — author of a book you may have heard of, The Power of Positive Thinking.

Or as some know it, America’s Bible. …

15 simple ways to get the most out of every day.

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Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash

A hundred things are ready to stop you from living. People you respect will laugh at your dreams. People you trust will let you down. Others just won’t care as much as you think they should.

Getting what you want means accepting all the world’s cruelty, without giving up. It means running uphill, against the wind.

You can’t just muddle through life. You have to do the hell out of it. If you can adopt a certain mindset, then even your worst days will still move you forward. What mindset is that, exactly?

Figure out what you’re good at.

It’s probably something you enjoy, even if it doesn’t look that sexy. Maybe your talents won’t make you rich or famous. But they’ll get you somewhere, as long as you hone them. …

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