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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.


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Humans 101

Our culture’s fear of laziness is destroying us

Black and white photo of a cat resting on a ledge.
Black and white photo of a cat resting on a ledge.

I’m a social psychologist, clinical assistant professor, and the author of the book Laziness Does Not Exist. My book is all about how our culture’s fear of laziness leads to overwork, exploitation, and alienation. In it, I also discuss how each of us can unlearn our hatred of laziness and build more authentic, socially connected lives. For anyone who doesn’t have the energy — or time — to read a full book about how busy and overworked we all are right now, here are five key insights from my book you can read in a single sitting:

1. The laziness lie

The “laziness lie”…

Humans 101

Nothing beats living in alignment with your values

My heart was pounding—not a good sign. I opened my mouth, and it felt chalky. I needed water, lots of it. My mind was freezing up too. The mouths of the four people interviewing me were moving, but I couldn’t process what they were saying; panic swallowed me up. I stumbled my way through the next 20 minutes. It couldn’t end soon enough.

When the disaster was over, one guy pulled me aside and asked me how I thought it went. How does terrible sound? I mumbled something about involving everyone in the discussion and some other nonsense. …

How sheets, docs, and folders can help you make sense of your relationships (and yourself)

We often use organizational tools to manage our external lives: to track deadlines, goals, and tedious projects that require pivot tables and formulas. But for all the energy we put into charting our professional growth, our personal lives are often a swirling mess of feelings, thoughts, and relationships in need of definition — or at least reflection.

Forge’s new Guide to Google Drive contains tools and templates for everything from ranking your exes to talking to God. Want to spice up your sex life? There’s a Google Sheet for that. Host a virtual party? Here’s your doc. …

More To That

Beat perfectionism by embracing this one simple concept

When I start on a new post, I’m off to the races.

Words connect, the creative juices flow, and I’m able to get a lot done.

Express Yourself

Get over your fear of other people if you really want creative success

A woman in a corner leaning her head against a wall, as seen from behind.
A woman in a corner leaning her head against a wall, as seen from behind.

I’ve lost track of how many people have told me that they’d never show the draft of their book to anyone. This admission is often accompanied by the qualifier that they’ll show it to someone “when it’s ready.” Another hindrance to creative work that I saw in my time as a history lecturer was from students who would tell me that they struggled to get work in on time because they thought of themselves as “perfectionists.”

Both of these varieties of perfectionism are about other people, not you or your work. …

More To That

You can’t predict the countless benefits that await you on the other side

A smiling person jumps toward the viewer, fist raised triumphantly.
A smiling person jumps toward the viewer, fist raised triumphantly.

Life leaps come in varying distances.

Some feel lofty and risky:

More To That

Learn the three rules of self-doubt to silence its voice for good

Of all the emotions I struggle with, the toughest is self-doubt.

To give you an idea of our tenuous relationship, here are some of the questions self-doubt routinely asks me:

“Hey, you. Yeah, you. Will your work ever be good enough?”

“Do you really think you’ll be able to grow this blog into something financially viable?”

“Shouldn’t you just give up now and do something else instead?”

These questions are no fun to face, and the most frustrating part is that they can appear at any moment. Even when things are going well and I’m feeling good about my work…

Express Yourself

You may disagree with your editor, but they’re (probably) right

Welcome to The Draft, an advice column about writing and life from Eileen Pollack, former director of the University of Michigan MFA Program. We’re here to answer your questions about storycraft, writing, and telling the truth.

Have a question? Share it with us.

Dear Draft,

I’m using the lockdown to finish and send out a bunch of essays, but all I’m getting are rejections. You’d think with all these submissions, the editors would at least send a personal note. Can I write back to ask why they’re not taking my work?

Rejected and Dejected

Dear Draft,

I know I’m…

Humans 101

“What am I doing for the most important person in my life?“

Our lives are composed of days. They pile on, one after the next, and if we’re honest, most of us would admit we don’t use each one as well as we could.

Maybe you’ve tried to micromanage your time and force yourself into a robotic routine — but that only makes you feel more trapped. Instead, gently encourage yourself to make better use of your days by asking yourself the following questions.

What would my best self do today?

Envisioning the best version of yourself can be a powerful motivator. However, simply imagining that person is more challenging than it sounds. …

Humans 101

When keeping up daily routines feels impossible, there’s a deeper cause at play

If there’s been any resounding sentiment on the internet over the past few weeks, it’s this: Functioning at optimal levels of productivity simply isn’t a reasonable expectation right now.

This is true. However, it ignores the fact that many of us lacked motivation before the pandemic — and our current reality has only exacerbated that.

If the simplest tasks feel overwhelming right now, don’t worry.

It’s not just you. It’s everyone.

It’s also a solvable problem — but solving it requires a few mindset shifts.

If you’re someone who finds very little motivation in completing mundane daily tasks that are…

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