What does the headline we click on say about us?

I am drawn to stories about those who exhibit qualities I lack.

Paul Duffy
3 min readMar 15, 2021


Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels

When I feel I’m living fearfully, I enjoy tales of those who act courageously. If I’m living emotionally, with no capacity for a poker face, I seek inspiration from those who remain unflappable in the face of disaster. This is how I choose what to read… most of the time, but then I began to wonder what the headlines I am clicking on are also saying about me.

Below are 15 headlines picked from the the top ranked Medium articles of all time. As you scan through them, is there a theme to emotions that resonate most powerfully?

  1. The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You
  2. Something is wrong on the internet
  3. Laziness Does Not Exist (But unseen barriers do)
  4. A quick beginner’s guide to drawing
  5. You’re Not Lazy (The last motivational blog post you’ll ever need.)
  6. How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind
  7. How I Hacked 40 Websites in 7 minutes
  8. You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.
  9. 7 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Be More Productive, Backed By Science
  10. How Quitting My Corporate Job for My Startup Dream F*cked My Life Up
  11. 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful
  12. People Who Have “Too Many Interests” Are More Likely To Be Successful According To Research
  13. If You Don’t Eliminate This Habit, You Will Never Grow (I had to stop doing this to finally start being consistent.)
  14. 10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings
  15. HTTPS explained with carrier pigeons

As I read through them I experienced amusement, apprehension, curiosity, annoyance, fear, anger, a desire for validation, schadenfreude…

The headlines that jangle my nerves vary with my mood, but that can be like rolling dice. In the same way we need to make conscious decisions about what we eat, and not base every decision on how convenient, how sweet, of how cheap I find the options, I also want to spend more time feeding my mind nourishment.



Paul Duffy

An ocean loving, tea drinking nomad. Curiosity can elevate us above our wiring.