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Be Honest: Are You Rejecting Yourself? (Why You Should Make Things)

Something unexpected happened recently. I started getting more visitors to my website from Google.

In fact, if you search the phrase “how to stop procrastinating” in Google right now, then you will probably see this article on the first page of results: How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “2–Minute Rule”

Why am I telling you this? Because there is a much bigger lesson behind this silly search engine story.

I’m not a search engine master. I don’t know anybody at Google. And I certainly don’t have the world’s best ideas. The only reason my article ended up on the first page is because I chose to write something. In a broader sense, I chose to build something, to make something, and to share something.

Here’s why this is important…
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Make More Art: The Health Benefits of Creativity

In 2010, the American Journal of Public Health published a review titled, The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health. You can find it here.

In that article, researchers analyzed more than 100 studies about the impact of art on your health and your ability to heal yourself. The studies included everything from music and writing to dance and the visual arts.

As an example, here are the findings from five visual arts studies mentioned in that review (visual arts includes things like painting, drawing, photography, pottery, and textiles). Each study examined more than 30 patients who were battling chronic illness and cancer.
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What is Your “Average Speed” in Your Life, Your Health, and Your Work?

I have a friend named Nathan Barry who recently finished writing three books in just 9 months.

How did he do it?

By following a simple strategy. He wrote 1,000 words per day. (That’s about 2 to 3 pages.) And he did it every day for 253 straight days.

Now, compare that strategy to the classic image of a writer hiding out in a cabin for weeks and writing like a madman to finish their book.

The maniac in the cabin has a high “maximum speed” — maybe 20 or even 30 pages per day. But after a few weeks at that unsustainable pace, either the book is finished or the author is.

By comparison, Nathan’s maximum speed never reached the peak levels of the crazy writer in the cabin. However, over the course of a year or two his average speed was much higher.

This lesson extends far beyond writing.
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The Two Types of Inspiration (Are You Using Both in Your Work and Life?)

It’s easy to spend all day searching for inspiration. You can find incredible videos, articles, and news stories, and email them out to all of your friends. But the best (and longest lasting) type of inspiration comes from applying those outside bits of motivation to your own goals.

Make no mistake: it’s important to be a learner. Successful people in all fields soak up new information. They find inspiration and motivation in the work and success of others.

But here’s the problem: consuming the success and ideas of others is passive inspiration. Every time you watch a video, read an article, or listen to an interview, you’re practicing passive inspiration. You might learn something, but you don’t actually have to do anything. Hearing about other people’s success isn’t the same thing as creating your own.
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The Easiest Way to Live a Short Unimportant Life

A recent article in the New York Times shared research on longevity that revealed that the people who live the longest not only live healthy lifestyles, but also tend to engage and connect with the people around them. They visit their neighbors. They teach classes in town. They pass down traditions to their children.

In other words, they contribute to the world around them.

The article didn’t come out and say it, but what it alluded to was that as people age, they tend to find themselves consuming more and creating less. To put it bluntly: the easiest way to live a short unimportant life is to consume the world around you rather than contribute to it.

Meanwhile, the people who keep on contributing tend to be the ones who keep on living. The message was clear. People who contribute to their community live longer.

But why is this true? And how can you apply it to your own life?
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