Why Goals Aren’t Enough—You Need to Set Directions Too

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] Recently, I caught up with a friend I don’t get to see often enough. Neither of us were in a Major Life Crisis, so we were doing that thing where we swap minor problems back and forth—everything from busyness to boredom to the various ways our ageing bodies […]

Exhausted and Unproductive? This Might Help

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] As a kid, I never understood why adults were so slow. Surely it would be more natural to run around and bounce and clamber – what was wrong with them? Why were all adults so lazy?! Now I’m (allegedly) an adult, I get it: We’re not lazy… we’re […]

How Tiny, Unconscious Habits Can Lead to a World of Pain

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] “Look after yourself,” suggests a well-meaning friend. “Um, thanks…” I respond—but privately, I bristle. What else am I going to do?! Not look after myself? And yet… I absolutely need to be told this, because every single day I fail to take care of myself through dozens of […]

Freedom vs Security

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] Today: some thoughts about life decisions. But First: Let’s Talk About Fourier Transforms, [WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS MATHS! (It’s optional, so skip it, if you like.)] A few months ago, I was making a decision, and every time I thought about it, a mathematical analogy sprung to mind.

How to Choose the Right Path When There are SO MANY POSSIBILITIES

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] To my great surprise, I’ve written two books. The first was non-fiction, and I spent the entire process worrying about making factual errors. I checked and rechecked (and rechecked) everything obsessively. At the very least, I wanted to be able to honestly say that I’d done my best […]

Wasted Time Isn’t Wasted

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] We can’t control whether to spend our time, only what we spend it on. This thought has echoed around and around in my mind ever since I read the story of Opus 40 – a sculpture park created by one man over 37 years(!). Part of me recoils […]

Being an Adult Child (in a Good Way)

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] I never really grew out of childishness. It’s just so fun. Children get to be curious, silly, and playful. And there’s something delightfully mindful about the capacity they have to get absorbed in an activity for hours on end. Naturally, we can’t remain entirely childlike forever, but I’ve […]

Have Fun, For Fun’s Sake!

[This relatively sensible post was originally written for puttylike.com] I often feel pressure, like questions are burnt into my brain by endless repetition: Am I contributing to the world right now? Am I making enough money? Am I deepening myself, learning new skills and growing as a person? You might think that achieving any of […]

Do You Plan, Ruminate, Worry, Poke, Prod, and Fumble? How to Stop Overanalysing Your Life

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] I’ve been planning to write this post for approximately seven years. Every possible paragraph has been carefully researched. Each of my thoughts has been studied intensely by a number of focus groups so that they are perfectly formed. (In fact, the focus groups were themselves chosen by focus […]

Do You Feel the Need to Be Impressive?

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com] Hi, my name’s Neil Hughes and, because I’m human, I want you to be impressed by me. This is a normal urge. We are social animals, so it’s natural to be concerned about our status within the tribe. Our brains: Am I important? What do people think when […]