James Clear

James Clear quotes on gratification

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

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The tension of life: Thinking only of today degrades the experience of tomorrow. Delay gratification. Thinking only of tomorrow degrades the experience of today. Don’t wait to begin living. Invest in your tomorrows and savor your todays. A delicate balance.


Mastery requires both impatience and patience. The impatience to have a bias toward action, to not waste time, and to work with a sense of urgency each day. The patience to delay gratification, to wait for your actions to accumulate, and to trust the process.


A good choice may go unrewarded for a long time. The best choices tend to provide exponential returns and a hallmark of any compounding process is that the greatest rewards are delayed. Things don't really take off until years later. Keep working. Be patient.


Society is becoming accustomed to delaying gratification less and less, which means the payoff of delaying gratification grows more and more.


A simple explanation for a large amount of human behavior: Most days, we'd rather be wrong with the crowd than be right by ourselves. The reward of belonging to the tribe and being accepted is often greater than the reward of winning an argument, looking smart, or finding truth.


Fact: Many studies have shown the ability to delay gratification is a crucial life skill and leads to greater success in a range of areas. Proposal: Those who appear to be good at delaying gratification are actually good at finding alternative ways to be satisfied in the moment.


Incentives are more important than goals. Setting a goal tells people what you want them to do. Designing incentives tells people what they will be rewarded for doing. When the incentives are right, you don't even need goals.

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