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It was 7 a.m. The rain was shelling the makeshift tin roof above me as I took a moment to re-read the last scene.

I was sitting in my local coffee shop’s outdoor area just as I had recent mornings prior. I left my last job two months ago to pursue freelance translation more seriously.

Sitting outside a coffee shop was my office, and I’d just landed my first significant translation gig two days ago: translating a full film script. I felt the same pride and relief that greets arriving travelers following a distant journey.

With the white noise of…

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We have a remarkable ability to imagine possible futures. We’ve spent a lot of time practicing it, after all. We use it every day to help us make all kinds of preparations for the future, from what to have for dinner to saving for retirement.

It’s also exceptionally entertaining. How many times have you dreamed of palm trees, white sand, and crystal-clear water? We’ve spent countless hours using our infinite imaginations to fantasize about our ultimate futures.

The process by which we orient ourselves toward the future is a mental practice known to psychologists as “prospection.” It is an anticipatory…

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The hardest times to take children seriously are those in which we are most vulnerable to deception. If we hear “done?” when our children know there’s dessert in the fridge, we can’t help but cringe with skepticism. It’s hard enough trying to make our way through the world without looking like a fool; now we have to do it at home, en garde against the trickery of someone who can’t say his own name.

Playing jester to our little kings and queens becomes tolerable in time, especially when we know how much pleasure it brings them. …

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There is a term in astrophysics that refers to a boundary where any event beyond it would not be visible to an observer. It’s called an event horizon. The simplest way to understand it is to imagine observing the horizon from a ship at sea. Since you can’t see beyond it from your perspective, anything that happens there wouldn’t be visible to you.

In space, event horizons exist around black holes, where the weight of gravity is so tremendous it literally tears apart objects through space and time into it. If the edge of the sea had that kind of…

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The Recipe for Success

We know what it takes to succeed, right? We know from whom or what source to find good advice, how to craft a coherent plan, and are generally capable of predicting what it’s going to take to get there. Many of us even claim to know its essential ingredients:

How your choice to raise conscientious or helpful children influences the way responsibility makes them feel

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Helpful or Conscientious?

Most parents want their children to learn responsibility. That “want” usually becomes “need” rather quickly following the birth of their second or third child. Any parent or guardian in a home with three or more children knows they can tame the possibility of ensuing chaos with a bit of scheduling and structure, but they still need help.

For children growing up in bustling homes or those demanding work for survival’s sake (e.g., tribal families), learning to fulfill a duty for the family comes rather…

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I wrote this in October 2015 while living in China, roughly a year after I’d arrived. By then, I’d spent a lot of time thinking about the process of my adjustment to living there. I knew nothing about real culture shock beforehand, even deliberately dismissed it. With the ignorance of an unsuspecting deer, I wandered across the road.

Though I’ve never married, I’m convinced my ideas about its early stages are not too dissimilar from adjusting to a foreign culture. Nowadays, of course, people ease into the adjustment of marriage by first moving in together. The traditional, chiefly pious idea…

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“Independent” or “Reliable”?

Many companies these days are becoming more particular about recruiting talent than ever, and they’re doing it with subtle precision before a single interview takes place. They know the reality of job hunting requires applicants to stand out, to prove we’re better than the competition. That means emphasizing accomplishments and our most attractive personality traits, the latter of which can be most decisive in landing a job.

In a study polling 500 international business leaders, 78% said personality sets great employees apart over cultural fit and skillset. …

Thanks, Tammy! I'm glad you enjoyed the article! Introspection like this is undoubtedly tough. My hope is that asking ourselves "Why?" when it comes to a particular action, it'll help us uncover the benefit we have to gain from it more easily. Sometimes you'll find yourself also asking "Why else?" Identifying the purpose(s) of one action can help uncover other things we do to achieve the same end. This should reveal the interconnectedness of our actions to the benefits and goals we seek. If we can see how they're connected, we can pick out which actions are contradicting the achievement of other goals. That kind of mindfulness is just the first step to behavioral change.

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Understanding the Full Picture

If you clicked on this article, chances are you have some intent about what you hope to accomplish from reading it. The mere act of opening it implies you hope to gain something. Why open it otherwise? Call it a pleasure, reward, benefit, gain, or goal; hopefully, you’ll attain it upon reaching its end.

If you believe reading this will help you accomplish a goal, you might also believe it’ll lead to a greater goal. In other words, the reward for achieving this one could lead to further benefit.

For example, if you’re reading this only because a friend suggested…

Michael Adelizzi

Copywriter by trade. Medium contributor by pleasure. Motivated by our collective improvement.

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