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Big publications are suggested as a key part of your Medium writing dream, but unfortunately they can be a roadblock to creativity and consistency. They characterize themselves as careful gatekeepers, but examining their feeds seems to reveal that, in some cases, they prioritize big-name writers at the expense of new voices.

My perception of what it must be like to be a big publication editor changed once I became one myself (not of a big publication though, a tiny one). More of that later. …

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As relentless as you try to be, life can do it better. Just when you think you have things sorted, life will throw something at you. When you’ve worked hard to get a schedule, a way of being and a method to avoid the pitfalls, life will build a crane next to the road and pluck you off the street while you were looking for problems beneath your feet.

There’s nothing you can do. You have to accept that. Life is the end of level boss you can’t ever beat.

Actually, you don’t want to beat him. You want to find a way to work with him. Or for him to work his side of the street and you work yours.

The only thing you can do for sure… is come back tomorrow and start again.

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In the UK, we’re in the stage of lockdown lifting where a sunny day makes more social activities possible. Being outside gives you some of your old flexibility back, but it comes with a big drawback — in the UK, it’s not sunny every day.

Golf, BBQs, drinks with more than one other friend — great fun but hard to plan. You carve out the time in your diary, get excited… then it rains all day.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I now try to keep myself a half-day ahead of my work schedule so if it’s sunny, I can drop everything and seize the day. I’m encouraging my mates to do the same.

A new productivity technique (“The Half-Day Hack”) is spreading — one that prioritises joy and connection over deadlines.

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You can just tell that some people are OK with themselves. They seem sorted, together, calm and… at ease.

It’s tempting to get annoyed with them or beat yourself up that you’re not quite there yet. But actually, it might be easier than you imagine to get to the same place they are. You’re probably closer than you think.

What little tweaks could you make to get you to the point where you are regularly displaying these traits?

They Are Genuinely Happy For Other People’s Success

The world is a competitive place. Our economy is built on it. Social media, if you peel back the surface, thrives on…

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‘The Maze Runner’ series of books and films has an innovative concept at its heart — a maze that resets every 24 hours. Each day the “runners” try to map it before it changes in the hope that one day, by studying all the maps together, they might crack the code.

It’s a superb analogy for life. Every time we think we’ve cracked it and we’re making progress, the context shifts or the goalposts move.

The values concept has cut-through at the moment because they are “lenses” which can be applied at any scale. You can use “positivity” to approach everything from COVID, to your career, to carrot-growing. A simple tool for a complex puzzle.

So pack your values and strap on your running shoes — there’s a fresh maze awaiting us today.

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I started brewing in lockdown by pure chance. We tried to clear out the garage (what else were we going to do?!) and in a box I found a copy of a seminal brewing textbook — John Palmer’s ‘How To Brew’.

I had no memory of buying it, but I was meant to find it, because the world that book has opened up to me in the last 9 months has inspired, helped and taught me.

Here are three life lessons that homebrewing can teach you too, if you give it — or any other creative hobby — a chance:

Be More Patient

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There are plenty of people in the world who find it hard to be happy on days the rest of the world want them to be. Mother’s Day is hard if you’ve lost your own mother, or a child. Christmas is a problem for way more people than we realise. And as for birthdays…

If, like me, you don’t like being the center of attention, and the passing of another year brings unhappy self-reflection, then birthdays aren’t great.

But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn't celebrate people. In fact, it’s even more important we make an effort to recognise those…

Andy Taylor

I want to learn. I try to grow. I’d love to help.

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