James Clear

James Clear quotes on failure

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

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Success is largely the failures you avoid. Health is the injuries you don't sustain. Wealth is the purchases you don't make. Happiness is the objects you don't desire. Peace of mind is the arguments you don't engage. Avoid the bad to protect the good.


“Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.” —Machiavelli Mistakes of ambition: -failing on a big goal -creating something nobody wants Mistakes of sloth: -not attempting a big goal -consuming instead of creating Mistakes of ambition teach. Mistakes of sloth comfort.


When failure is expensive, plan carefully. When failure is cheap, act quickly.


When dreaming, imagine success. When preparing, imagine failure. When acting, imagine success.


Remember what your failures taught you. Forget how your failures made you feel.


Most failures are one-time costs. Most regrets are recurring costs. The pain of inaction stings longer than the pain of incorrect action.


The secret to winning is learning how to lose. That is, learning to bounce back from failure and disappointment—undeterred—and continuing to steadily march toward your potential. Your response to failure determines your capacity for success.


If you want to avoid mistakes, read about the experiences of others. If you want to create something original, reflect on your own experiences.


Success is never due to one thing, but failure can be. Sleeping well won’t make you successful, but not sleeping enough will hold you back. Hard work is rarely enough without good strategy, but even the best strategy is useless without hard work. Necessary, but not sufficient.


Pros are just amateurs who learned from their mistakes.


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


Intellectuals are more likely to fail because they deliberate too much. Good judgment is wasted when it never turns into action. Trailblazers are more likely to fail because they deliberate too little. Effort is wasted by rushing into work before identifying what matters most.


Stories of failure resonate more than stories of success. Few people reach the top, but everyone has failed—including those who eventually succeed. If you're teaching people how to succeed in a given field (or talking about your own success), start with how you failed.


A common path to failure is ignoring the fundamentals while searching for a better way to do things. A common path to success is ignoring things while searching for a better way to do the fundamentals.


One of the foundations of learning is having the safety to fail. Without safety, you can’t afford failure. If you can’t afford failure, you can’t make mistakes. Without mistakes, you can’t get the feedback needed to iterate. Learning requires failure. Failure requires safety.


On funerals, loss, grief, friendship, and support: It's not about knowing what to say. It's about being there when nobody knows what to say. The only thing people need to hear is, "You are not alone." And that doesn't require words. It just requires your presence.


Have no single point of failure. Have no single path to success.


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


Planning for failure is a crucial part of success.


Be thankful for your failures. They reveal the winning strategies.


We hold onto our flaws because they are insurance for our failures. Every fear serves a purpose. When we cling to unhelpful beliefs and old fears, we can blame failure on them. Growth requires the courage to give our best effort and not blame our flaws as the cause of failure.


An important lesson I learned during my baseball career: I would rather be pitching when we lose than not be on the field. Blame me for the loss. That’s fine. But I want to be in the arena. I’d rather have that responsibility and fail than not be trusted at all.


An updated failure becomes a success. An unexamined failure remains a failure.


We all experience failure. Mentally tough people realize failure is just an event, not an indication of their identity and self-worth.


From Chapter 16 of Atomic Habits: "The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit."


Life has tradeoffs. Success in one area is often tied to failure in another. The more extreme the greatness, the longer the shadow it casts.


You shouldn't expect to fail, but you should plan for failure. The fastest way to get back on track is to know what to do when you're off it

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