And why you need to master each level before you can move onto the next

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

After spending countless hours immersed in the “self-help” section of the internet, I’ve come across many tools, tricks, and strategies designed to help people become more productive. However, even though there is almost an unlimited amount of advice available on the subject, very few people are actually able to implement what they’ve learned.

I believe this disconnect between what people know they should be doing and what they actually do is not because of a problem with the advice itself, but a problem in the way we try to apply it. What people don’t realize is that there are levels…


“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” — David McCullough

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Just like wood, nails, and concrete build the physical structures you live and work in, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs are the building blocks for your mental world.

The best houses are designed by teams of world-class architects and engineers to create something that is beautiful, functional, and efficient all at the same time. Even the simplest of houses are built to be strong and hold up under pressure, but it’s an unfortunate truth that we put nowhere near the same amount of effort into the structures of our minds.

The ability to think clearly and logically is the foundation for…


Photo by Milad B. Fakurian on Unsplash

For the majority of my life, I believed that productivity and success were simply a product of willpower and self-discipline. If I didn’t achieve my goals or to-do lists, it was because I wasn’t trying hard enough—my failures were a direct reflection of my character and the person I was.

However, as I’ve grown older and matured, I’ve realized how problematic this mindset has been. After experimenting with dozens of to-do lists, morning routines, and other common pieces of self-help advice, I began to gain a better understanding of how productivity, self-discipline, and life in general really works.


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Over the course of the last several decades, the idea that we should choose a career based on what we are passionate about has become so popular it’s almost a cliché. However, this advice often does more harm than good. In fact, as the phrase “follow your passion” has gone mainstream we have seen a steady decrease in job satisfaction.

For the majority of my life, I was a subscriber to this passion-centered approach to finding work you love. I believed that in order to live a life of meaning and fulfillment all I needed to do was discover what…


So that nothing slips through the cracks

The key to a productive, stress-free life is time management.

Now, for many people, this term is associated with productivity gurus who optimize their day down to the very last minute, cramming in as much work as humanly possible into their every waking hour.

Fortunately, that’s not what we’re trying to do here.

Instead, we want to use time management to open up free time and reduce our stress levels. Haphazardly trying to keep track of assignments and deadlines with no clear system or plan is a recipe for disaster. You’ll miss assignments, procrastinate, and be forced to work unproductive…


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Morality has been the topic of debate for hundreds of years as understanding morality has huge implications in every single area of human society. At the heart of this debate, lies the issue of determining whether morality is objective or subjective.

In an attempt to define morality we come across two seemingly similar yet distinct definitions. The descriptive definition refers to morality as codes of conduct that are put forth by a certain society, group, or individual, whereas the normative definition refers to morality as a universal code of conduct that should be put forth by all rational persons.

Unfortunately…


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The word “quit” has been programmed with a negative connotation by society. It implies weakness and laziness. However, quitting isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Quitting can sometimes be the smartest, most productive, and even the most courageous possible course of action.

In today’s world, high school students are put under tons of stress due to the rat race that is college admissions. Students aiming for the Ivy’s or any high ranked college feel pressured into cramming every possible AP class and extracurricular into their schedule. They sacrifice their sleep, social life, mental health, and physical health to do more.


Perseus defeated Medusa. David beat Goliath. Odysseus saved the Greeks in the Trojan War.

It would seem that a hero is defined by the trials they face and the obstacles they overcome. However, in today’s world, there are no monsters for us to battle, and no giants for us to slay. Instead, we try to find meaning through our careers and what we accomplish.

But, is that the path to true happiness?

It’s easy to believe that finding our own dragon to vanquish will be what brings passion and purpose to our lives. …


(Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash)

The 2020 presidential elections have shown us a country divided. We’re divided by race, by class, by policy; we’re divided by gender and sexuality, and religion. Civilized, respectful discussion has become a relic of the past. People are angry, frustrated, bitter, and anxious.

It’s easy to feel depressed by the state of our nation; easy to sink into feelings of despair and hopelessness; easy to mark ourselves, the ordinary American citizen, as a victim of the political games played by the “upper class”. We forget, no matter how far from the truth it may seem, that this is a country…


A step-by-step process for clarifying your most important aspirations and then doing the work to make them happen

A person stands on a curvy arrow painted on the street.
A person stands on a curvy arrow painted on the street.
Image source: Mananya Kaewthawee

Nowadays, the phrase “follow your passion” is so overused it’s a cliche. Although great advice in principle, most people find it difficult, if not impossible, to follow, and it often does more harm than good.

If you’ve ever done even a little bit of research on goal setting you’ve almost certainly come across the SMART acronym which outlines the key components of a strong goal: specificity, measurability, achievability, relevance, and timeliness. Unless the goals you set meet these criteria, they remain an improbable dream, doomed to live out the rest of their time as a fantasy.

Herein lies the issue…

Aanika Dalal

Junior in high school; Really like popcorn; Sign up for my free newsletter: https://portfarrago.com/

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