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I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. For my best articles & book updates, go here: https://niklasgoeke.com/

A fundamentally human question with a 2,000-year-old answer

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Why do you keep dating douchebags? Why can’t you get over your ex? Why do some relationship feel effortless, while others force us to try very hard? The answer to all of these questions lies in understanding attraction.

I’m not talking about sexual attraction, although what I’ll share will, to some extent, explain that too. I mean attraction as in: “Oh, I like that guy!” The kind of attraction that’s natural, effortless, and that you might feel towards a great deal of people, even if you don’t have any agenda involving them whatsoever.

It’s a good thing, this attraction. It…


If you think reruns are a waste of time, you might want to think — or better yet, watch — again

Photo: Guido Mieth/Getty Images

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who love rewatching movies, and those who think it’s a colossal waste of our limited time.

If you’re the former, I have nothing to offer except validation. If you happen to be the latter, however, I’d like to present a piece of evidence that just might change your mind.

Five years ago, I watched Marvel’s Dr. Strange for the first time. In the scene that most stood out to me, Strange and his mentor, the “Ancient One,” are looking at a thunderstorm in slow motion. Knowing these are her last…


How to know when it’s time to quit

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It’s an unwritten law of entrepreneurship that for every project you stick with, there are at least three you’ll quit or never start.

In my case, there’s the car blog, the car Instagram, the inspired quotes Instagram, the animated quotes app, the anti-stress course, and hundreds of deleted article ideas — and those are just some of the least public of my failures. I quit my Substack newsletter after six weeks, quit as editor of Better Marketing, and quit another newsletter to write a book, which I then quit to write another book. I’m now on book #3 and have…


The world does not rest on your shoulders

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You know the Atlas statue? The one in front of Rockefeller Center in NYC? It’s magnificent. Cast in bronze, Atlas stands strong. Knees bent under pressure, arms spread wide, he carries the entire world on his shoulders.

The story of Atlas goes back to Greek mythology. Fun fact: He’s not actually holding the earth. He’s holding the sky, or what the Greeks called “the celestial sphere” — an orb made of a 5th element (quintessence), contained in which are all the stars.

So why does Atlas have to hold up the heavens? Well, he was on the wrong side of…


Especially when they’re not things but people

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If you haven’t heard, femininity is toxic. Masculinity is too. So are feminism, individualism, and positivity. Spirituality is toxic, as is your family, and many other things that end on y. Diet culture, the friend zone, even digital design — life is one giant nest of snakes.

Your boyfriend is probably toxic. Or girlfriend. Your friends surely are. And your boss? Definitely. Even your UX manager might be toxic. Didn’t see that coming, did ya? Your coworkers, on the other hand…that’s obvious.

Your habits are toxic, and so is your ego. Throw in your personality for good measure. Don’t get…


10 common flaws in bestsellers — and 3 reasons to read them anyway

Image via the author

When I first discovered non-fiction books, I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. Whatever problem you could possibly have, there’s a book out there to help you solve it. I had a lot of challenges at the time, and so I started devouring lots of books.

I read books about money, productivity, and choosing a career. I read books about marketing, creativity, and entrepreneurship. I read and read and read, and, eventually, I realized I had forgotten to implement all the advice! …


We need open minds more than ever, right when we’re least likely to have them

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I. Pagliacci

In the movie Watchmen, the character Rorschach tells the following story:

Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.”

The uncertainty the poor clown feels closing in around himself is a major theme of the movie — an exploration of existential dread and how to…


Nothingness is not empty — it’s essential

Photo by ÉMILE SÉGUIN 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Living is exhaling.

You wake up, jump out, and make your bed. You brush teeth, get dressed, and race to the breakfast table. Phew!

You work. You type. You work harder. You type faster. Pheeew.

You buy groceries. You sort your bills. You tuck your kid in. Pheeeeeeeew.

You watch Netflix. You doomscroll. You listen to a friend yap for hours. Phew, phew, pheeeeeeeeeeeew.

By the time your head hits the pillow, you are exhausted. You’re wheezing.

What happened? Simple: You forgot to inhale. That’s also living.

Matthew Inman says creativity is like breathing: “When you make stuff, you’re exhaling…


Start with the story, then let your actions follow

Photo by Christina Moroz on Unsplash

Why is America “The Greatest Country in the World™?”

Unlike Italy (Caesar), Greece (Alexander the Great), and Mongolia (Genghis Khan), America never ruled half the known world. In fact, America is only 200 years old. It’s one of the youngest countries of all.

So why do they get that slogan? America gets that slogan because for all 200 of those years, they’ve been yelling it at the top of their lungs. When the founding fathers put their signatures on that document, they said: “This is what makes a country great.”

Ever since, America at large has been saying, “Look! This…

Niklas Göke

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