Zoe Yu

Reduce brain fog to perform at your cognitive best.

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Photo: Oleh_Slobodeniuk/Getty Images

If you could watch your brain go through its cognitive practices, you’d be surprised by its complexity — the pathways in which it judges, decides, memorizes, learns, and builds strength.

In fact, the average person has roughly 48.6 thoughts per minute. To put this arbitrary number into perspective, that adds up to 70,000 thoughts in the span of a single day. With the sheer amount of thoughts bouncing around in our heads, it’s easy for our brains to become foggy and cluttered.

It’s the feeling we experience when rereading a sentence multiple times before finally comprehending it, the same hazy thought processes that force us to fall back. …


Less Tok, more Guac.

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Image: JOHN JOHNSTON/CHIPOTLE

TikTok is the new frontier of Gen-Z marketing. As TechCrunch put it, “If you haven’t been paying attention to TikTok, you haven’t been paying attention.”

Evidently, the world’s top brands have been paying serious attention. Hundreds of companies including Pepsi, Nike, Walmart, and Skittles have dialed in, taking the opportunity to garner gargantuan levels of views and cult followings.

“What we tell brands is, this is essentially Instagram in the early days,” said Anish Dalal, chief executive of digital-marketing company Sapphire Apps Media.

Since the social media titan took off in 2018, it’s been the most downloaded, most-watched, most talked-about platform. Teenagers in particular are completely gaga for the app, spending an average of 80 minutes a day scrolling through the uniquely addictive feeds. …


A publication editor’s take on how to make your article 10 times more clickable

graphic image of man in suit looking thoughtful as he writes by hand with a stack of papers beside him
graphic image of man in suit looking thoughtful as he writes by hand with a stack of papers beside him
Illustration: VectorStock

Eighty percent of articles don’t flop because of the actual writing. It’s a bold statement, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

As an editor of Write Like A Girl, a publication housed right here on Medium, I too often encounter stories with wonderful potential — a brilliant introduction, meaningful advice, a wealth of takeaways, the whole shebang.

Even so, it’s these same stories that tank, racking up readerships in the single digits.

The writing’s certainly there, but it’s time to consider an unfortunate reality. …


Chicken caesar salad, but the “chicken caesar salad” is silent

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Screenshots: TikTok

When New York University student Ben Cresto opened his quarantine meal, he wasn’t expecting to see a steak-and-cheese salad.

Why?

Well, for starters, he’s vegan.

As NYU decided to return to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 2,600 students are in isolation, relying on the university for three meals a day. Considering their tuition is upwards of $74K this school year, with $20K going towards room and board, it wasn’t unrealistic for students to expect adequate meals.

Yet, over the past few weeks, NYU students have flooded TikTok in waves, documenting their equal parts laughable and tragic experiences — sour oranges one day, granola bars for dinner the next — delivered hours late at a time, if at all. …


Your guide to starting a lasting reading habit.

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Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The power of reading isn’t a secret anymore. It’s no coincidence that, when asked how he learned how to build rockets, Elon Musk answers: “I read books.”

The common denominator between big-name billionaires? They read. In fact, the average American only reads one book a year while the CEO of a Fortune 500 company reads 4–5 a month.

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

— Jim Rohn

A few years ago, reading was an uphill battle for me. …


Check off this simple A.M. to-do list every morning.

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Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels

If you want to have an optimized morning, productivity gurus and life-hackers swear by:

  • Waking up at the crack of dawn.
  • Dropping everything and practicing zen yoga.
  • Eating a bowl of quinoa and kale.
  • Doing at least fifty push-ups and going for a mile-long run.
  • Speed-reading a textbook on quantum mechanics.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound fun — or realistic — in the slightest.

Contrary to the popular belief, you don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn and strictly eat raw beets to mobilize a morning. …


A dropped $500,000 book deal, a ghostwriter, and scams galore

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Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Love her or hate her, the internet can’t seem to get enough of Caroline Calloway. Since her reign as The Queen of Instagram, the 28-year-old influencer has:

  • Rose to the spotlight of social media through her #adventuregrams — incredibly long, detailed captions that documented her life stories.
  • Scored a half-million-dollar book deal based on her #adventuregrams (that she later, infamously, dropped).
  • Been dubbed a “one woman Fyre Fest” from her $165 series of creative workshops, gaining buzzworthy notoriety as a “scammer.”
  • Was the object of a viral The Cut exposé by her ghostwriter.
  • Gained (and lost) nearly one million Instagram followers. …


#3 — They don’t waste time complaining.

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Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

My friend Sarah is the most courageous person I know.

When Sarah fails for the 100th time, she promptly begins prepping for take number 101. When life storms down on her, she looks for the break in the clouds. When faced with the toughest of situations, she’s unfailingly strong-willed.

Essentially, no matter how many times Sarah falls, she always manages to pick herself up, dust herself off, and keep going.

With Sarah’s character and mentality, it’s no surprise she’s working at a Fortune 500 company — and recently got promoted to an executive position.

“Fear is a reaction. …


Torn between two choices? Use this simple reframe.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you’re anything like I was, you’re incredibly indecisive.

You can’t figure out which ice cream flavor to pick and what movie to watch. When it’s time for Sunday brunch, you can’t figure out what to wear without digging through the entirety of your closet.

You’re repeatedly on the fence in the thick of life’s toughest decisions, hesitant on taking up the job offer, torn on whether or not you should move to the big city.

When you can’t make up your mind, your game plan goes a little like this:

  1. Make a list of pros and cons.
  2. Argue with yourself over which is the better option. …


#2: Don’t obsess over perfection

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Photo by Carmine Savarese on Unsplash

Oscar Wilde was arguably one of the most provocative literary geniuses of his time. The Irish author, dramatist, and playwright was known for his acclaimed work The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as his masterful comedies, brilliant wit, and flamboyant nature.

As a prolific writer, Wilde had plenty to share about honing his craft. Below are four key words of wisdom to make you a better writer:

1. Create your own writing style

“They are always asking a writer why he does not write like somebody else, or a painter why he does not paint like somebody else, quite oblivious of the fact that if either of them did anything of the kind he would cease to be an artist.” …

About

Zoe Yu

Writer, bookworm, & Oxford comma enthusiast. I’m obsessed with personal growth and internet culture. Newsletter ↳ nextgreatread.substack.com

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