James Clear

James Clear quotes on confidence

Author of the #1 NYT bestseller Atomic Habits. I write about building better habits.

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Lack of confidence kills more dreams than lack of ability. Talent matters—especially at elite levels—but people talk themselves out of giving their best effort long before talent becomes the limiting factor. You're capable of more than you know. Don't be your own bottleneck.


Externally, be humble. Internally, be confident.


Your identity can hold you back: -I'm terrible with directions. -I have a sweet tooth. -I'm bad at math. ...or build you up: -I'm the type of person who doesn't miss workouts. -I finish what I start. -I read every day. Build habits that reinforce your desired identity.


Build small habits, but make big plans. (1) Keep your daily actions small. Strive to get 1% better every day. (2) Keep your daily mindset big. Think about how you can play a bigger game. Always start small. Never play small.


It’s never been a better time for self-motivated people. Anyone connected to the internet has the education power of a university and the distribution power of a media company at their fingertips. Curiosity, courage, and persistence are the new gatekeepers.


Comparing yourself to others... ...is positive when it motivates you to get back to work, upgrade your skills, and remain dedicated to a meaningful pursuit. ...is negative when it causes rumination, negative self-talk, and lower self-esteem. It’s a thin line between the two.


How to prepare for bad luck: -spend less than you earn -build an emergency fund -get fit before you need to -be the friend you’ll need some day -ask “How could X go wrong?” and plan for failure -build confidence by conquering small challenges when life is easy


One version of confidence is: “I’ve got this figured out.” Another version is: “I can figure this out.” The first is arrogant and close-minded. The second is humble and open-minded. Choose the latter. Be humble about what you know, but confident about what you can learn.


Never be so busy comparing what you have that you forget how fortunate you are to have it.


The ideal level of confidence is slightly beyond your actual ability. Never be so detached from reality that you become delusional, but never dip low enough that you become your own bottleneck. Most people are capable of more than they believe.


Strength training is the assassin of self-doubt. It’s nearly impossible for confidence to decline when you watch the weight on the bar increase each week—even when starting from a modest level.


Others can criticize your actions. Only you can criticize your thoughts. And if thoughts precede actions, then you need the courage to overcome self-doubt before you need the courage to overcome your critics. The first battle is always internal.


Merely believing you deserve something doesn’t make it a reality. But believing you *don’t* deserve something will prevent you from trying. Most people are capable of more than they believe. Confidence won’t automatically get you results, but self-doubt sets your ceiling.


Learning is the meat of failure. Self-doubt is the bones. Keep eating. Spit out the bones.


The old gatekeepers were external: credentials, approval, access. The new gatekeepers are internal: curiosity, confidence, consistency.


Whenever you succeed with a small habit, you add a little to your general ability to stick with good habits. With each repeated success, your ability grows as does your trust and confidence in yourself. Slowly, you develop the ability to be consistent even in tough conditions.


Increasingly, I believe getting rich and staying rich require different skills. Qualities needed for getting rich: -focused -optimistic -confident -lucky Qualities needed for staying rich: -diversified -pessimistic -humble -lucky Ideally, you’d learn to alternate as needed.


Self-talk strategies: If you need confidence, talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. If you need persistence, talk to yourself the way you would talk to a student. If you need patience, talk to yourself the way you would talk to a child.


I’m usually terrified people will hate my writing. My only saving grace is how I direct that fear. I use it to motivate me to find better ideas and share more useful examples rather than allowing it to prevent me from sharing at all. Fear is the gas pedal, not the brake.


Think about self-control less as the quality of a person and more as the quality of a place. There are some places and situations that tend toward lower self-control and others that lean toward higher self-control. Self-control is about your context as much as your character.


Motivation can be minimal if actions are easy. Start small and become the kind of person who shows up every day. Build a new identity. Then increase the intensity.

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