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Dear Millennials — A Letter To The Lost Generation

“You are all a ‘génération perdue!’,” the garage owner shouted at the young mechanic, who couldn’t fix Gertrude Stein’s car fast enough.

Dear Millennials Car

“That is what you are. That’s what you all are … all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”

Stein later told the story to her dear friend, Ernest Hemingway, who’s largely responsible when historians today refer to those born between 1883 an 1900 by said name.

What Hemingway alluded to in The Sun Also Rises isn’t lost in the sense of gone, missing or forsaken, but disoriented, wandering, directionless — a recognition that there was great confusion and aimlessness among the war’s survivors in the early post-war years,” as Samuel Hynes points out in A War Imagined.

When I look at my generation of fellow millennials, I can’t help but feel as if history is about to repeat itself.

Hence, this open letter.

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14 Warnings From Trust Me, I’m Lying

I’m a writer. As such, I’ve always written to the best of my ability and with the purest of intentions. You might think that’s the most natural thing in the world, but just recently I learned that many writers don’t consider these two items – which are really just the right thing to do – part of their job description.

As part of my quest to learn more about writers, who inspire me, I decided this year I would get all books from one author I like, read them in chronological order, and look at how they and their style have evolved. I started with Ryan Holiday.

Trust Me, I'm Lying Summary Books by Ryan Holiday

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Liquid Sleep: How To Get More Out Of Life By Staying Up Longer

Last June I bought a Garmin Vivosmart HR activity tracker, primarily for two reasons:

  1. My daily step count is visually present to me at all times, which makes me more likely to get those 10,000 steps.
  2. If I sit for longer than an hour, it vibrates and nags me to get up and move. Since sitting is the new smoking, I think moving regularly might be more important than moving a lot.

While I happily would’ve shelled out 125 € for just those two features alone, there are a few other perks to wearing one of these around the clock. One of them is sleep tracking.

What I’m about to say as a result of it is not going to be popular and it’s definitely not politically correct. At the very least though, it’s food for thought.

For the past five months, I’ve been sleeping less and I think it’s the right choice. Let’s put that into context.

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Do You For Love: The Best Way To Meet Women (Or Men) You’ll Like

I like to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It started in 2014. When everyone else was finishing their theses, I “procrastinated” with an internship. While all my friends optimized their resumé, I started a blog. Whereas most people would long have published a book, here I am, patiently writing for free.

So back in 2014, when Tinder was just two years old and few people in Germany were using it, I thought it was a good idea to jump on. And then I used it in a different way than everyone else. I met an awesome girl and we were together for almost two years. The reason it ended has nothing to do with the way we met. We just reached a gap we couldn’t cross. That’s okay.

In 2017, Tinder feels like the new norm. I now know more couples whose relationships began on Tinder than elsewhere.

I think it’s time to do the opposite. Again.

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The GaryVee Matrix: Your One True Way To Win

On 29th of September 2016, I moved to Munich. Two days later, my mattress still lying on the floor in the middle of my room, I went to one of the many college libraries at 11 AM and opened my laptop. I worked on Four Minute Books all day until 6 PM, before going home and assembling my bed.

GaryVee Matrix Bed

(yup, left it like this)

Moving to one of, if not the most expensive city in Germany was an all-in move for me. No more half-assing. No more part-time freelance, part-time writing. It’s all-in or nothing on two fronts:

  1. Getting a (free) graduate degree from one of the country’s best schools in my favorite city while saving money on tax and health insurance is my practical all-in.
  2. Paying my own way through it, without taking on debt, while going for a full-time writing career is my impractical all-in.

What’s surprised me is the ease with which I’ve catapulted my work ethic into high gear. Today, I’d like to give credit to the man, who’s largely responsible for it: Gary Vaynerchuk. Welcome to the GaryVee Matrix.

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I Wrote 500,000 Words In 2016, But No Book. Here’s Why.

500,000. That’s how many words I wrote in 2016. 1,370 per day. 450,000 of those went into summaries and content on Four Minute Books.

Add to that 12,000 words on this blog, another 15,000 words for Time 2 Read, Medium articles, a few long guest posts, work for clients, copy for landing pages, etc. and the half a million mark falls faster than you can say writer’s block.

Up to a million books are published each year in the US alone, half or more self-published by independent authors. When I first saw how much I’d written last year, I wanted to punch myself.

“Why didn’t you write a book, you idiot? Or 2? Or 5?”

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Comfortably Creative: How Folding Laundry Will Make You More Original

“Geez, these all look the same! How am I supposed to sort these?”

Every time I fold my laundry, I spend more time trying to tell apart my socks from one another than actually folding. They’re barely distinguishable.

Comfortably Creative Socks

(see what I’m dealing with here?)

Not too long ago, during a particularly tedious case of color-matching, a thought struck me:

“I wonder if my creative projects should be the same?”

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Stopping The Storm Of Fake Happiness: How To Be Optimistic & Why That’s What Matters

Right this second, someone is recording a Youtube video, grinning from ear to ear, trying to sell you on the idea that if you’re not happy, there’s something wrong with you. Even worse, there’s probably also someone writing an article claiming they can show you how to fix it in seven easy steps.

First off, there is nothing wrong with you. If you don’t want to run around the streets naked right now or aren’t at the verge of a positivity-induced ecstatic breakdown, that’s just fine.

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Why “For Example” Is A Bad Way Of Explaining Things

When our math teacher in high school introduced a new topic, what happened next would always follow the same pattern:

  1. She explains the Pythagorean theorem.
  2. Nobody gets it.
  3. She makes an example.
  4. Some people get it.
  5. The rest of the class goes “Can you make another example? Pleeeeeeeaaaaase?”

Steps 3-5 of the pattern would then repeat until the majority of the class understood the new concept and the “More examples!” screams slowly died down. Then we moved on.

Since I was often part of the group who got the gist the first go around, I’d be bored for the remainder of the lesson, waiting for everyone else to get the joke so we could continue. In the meantime, instead of listening, I tried to come up with more of my own examples.

I didn’t know it back then, but as it turns out, I was doing something right.

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On Being Vulnerable: What If You Didn’t Numb It?

Stories from the metaphorical operating table…

The other day I summarized a book called Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, which is about vulnerability. It’s been stuck in my head for days, so today, I want to share this idea with you.

Here’s what Google tells you when you ask it to “define vulnerable”:

exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Therefore, by definition, being vulnerable is dangerous. It’s unsafe, uncertain and uncomfortable. So naturally, we don’t like it and we try to escape this state as soon as possible.

When we feel exposed, endangered or on the spot, our usual reaction is to numb that feeling.

Today I want to ask you: what if you didn’t?

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