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I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. For free articles & previews of my upcoming book Self-Love To Go, go here: https://niklasgoeke.com/

A lesson from a dying scientist

One day, while her husband was at work, Jai did the thing many a wife dreads most in her marriage: She crashed both their cars at the same time.

As she pulled the minivan out of the garage, Jai heard the dooming yet familiar crunch we all know from the movies — except this was her life, and yes, the convertible definitely took a hit, as did the van.

Imagine the cartoon episode of a day that follows: Jai paces around the living room. She bites her nails. “What do I tell him?” Jai hides the cars in the garage…


And if you don’t start now, it’ll flop and deservedly so

I’m writing a book. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Writing articles is easy. It didn’t use to be, but when you’ve done it 2,000 times, anything becomes frictionless. Articles are low-stakes. If one flops, I’ll just write another. It only takes a day. With a book, well…

If your book tanks, you’ll have wasted a year. You won’t get paid for work you’ve already done. If people hate your book, they won’t hate 1,000 words — they’ll hate 200 pages. That’s a lot of bad karma, and, quite frankly, it scares the hell out of me.

Other people…


What makes the people we admire so strong?

What makes a person emotionally strong? We all want to be composed, steadfast adults, but we don’t have a good answer to this question.

We know emotional strength when we see it. We can feel it. Mature people are attractive. They give us hope. We admire them. Merely observing empowered people makes us feel more in control as well. But what led to it? Which traits did they cultivate within to become so visibly powerful without?

Countless attitudes are ascribed to being strong: There’s willpower, patience, and persistence. There’s discipline, persuasiveness, and flexibility. What about honesty? What about detachment? Will…


Learn to separate what’s working from what you wish it would

If you don’t separate what’s working from what you wish was working, you’ll never commit to the right projects. This is a story about learning to tell the difference.

On January 11th, I started a freemium newsletter. I called it “You — A daily email full of inspiration, smart ideas, and emotional support for the most important person in your life.

Three times a week, it was free. For two extra editions, plus audio recordings, plus community interaction, you had to pay. I launched with a discounted rate of $5/month or $50/year, which later went up to $7/$70. …


Things only seem crooked when you look at them from the wrong perspective

In a gallery in Birmingham, there’s a painting. When you stand still, it looks flat. If you move a bit to the side, however, the corridors will…shift.

It feels like you’re wandering the halls of an art gallery — inside a painting in an art gallery. It’s marvelous. Magical. And hella confusing.

The trick is, of course, that the painting is not flat at all. It’s made of three-dimensional, pyramid-shaped cones, sticking out from the canvas. It’s a sculpture disguised as a painting, and your mind struggles to tell the difference. …


A deliberate commitment beats waiting for a magical discovery

Our brain turns memories into stories. The difference is that a story will always make sense, while your memories may not.

If you’ve ever told an anecdote at a party and left out a tiny detail in service of the punchline, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe, the car had already stopped when you jumped in to save the puppy. Maybe, the wall you climbed wasn’t all that high. Shhhhh! It’s ok. I won’t tell anyone.

The most curious aspect of this is that the more you retell a story, the more polished it becomes. With every iteration, your…


Once you get out of your way, your biggest obstacle has already fallen.

You wake up. You’re eight years old. It’s your birthday. How excited are you?

I’ll tell you how excited you are: Right now, your zest for life is an 11 out of 10. Heck, it might be a 15. I think you should live your life as if it’s your eighth birthday every day. At least once a week.

Psychologically, there’s no reason you can’t. That’s all life is. Psychology. Identifying, managing, changing your emotions — and then projecting what you have procured upon the world. Seriously. Try it.

Smash your alarm with the force of Thor’s hammer. Don’t roll…


The story of the $100 bill.

One day, the teacher brought a $100 bill to school. He showed it to the class and asked: “How much is this worth?”

“$100,” the class said in unison.

The teacher crumpled up the bill, then held it in the palm of his hand. Once again, he asked: “How much is this worth?”

“$100,” the students said.

The teacher threw the bill on the ground and asked: “How much is it worth now?”

At first, the students gasped, but then they shrugged and said: “Well, it’s still $100.”

Furiously, the teacher stomped on the bill several times. Then, he asked…


A parable about knowing your worth

When she graduated high school, the father told his daughter: “I’m proud of you. Soon, you will move out and go your own way. I’d like to give you a going-away present. Follow me.”

The father walked to the garage and pressed a light switch the daughter had never seen before. A single light bulb lit up and revealed: Hidden in the back of the garage, there sat an old car. It was dusty, dirty, and clearly not in good shape.

The father smiled and revealed a set of keys: “I bought this car many years ago. It is old…

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