James Clear

James Clear quotes on ideas

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

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The idea that "change is hard" is one of the biggest myths about human behavior. The truth is, you change effortlessly and all the time. The primary job of the brain is to adjust your behavior based on the environment. Design a better environment. Change will happen naturally.


Abilities that lead to intelligence: 1. The curiosity to experiment and explore. 2. The honesty to observe the world as it is, not as you wish it to be. 3. The humility to kill your favorite ideas when you learn something new. 4. The consistency to repeat this cycle for life.


People keep reading self-help and revisiting the same ideas because that’s precisely what we need: to be reminded. The problem is not that information is unhelpful, but that attention is fleeting. Nobody focuses on one idea every minute of the day. Good books refocus the mind.


One of the most incredible things about reading: A good book can give you a new way to interpret your past experiences. Whenever you learn a new mental model or idea, it's like the "software" in your brain gets updated. Suddenly, you can learn new lessons from old moments.


Theory: Creative thoughts often arise during “mindless” tasks like showering or walking because the low level activity occupies the mind enough to prevent rumination. Your imagination is unlocked.


The most creative ideas come from people who have nothing to lose. As soon as you have something to lose, you limit your ideas to those that don’t threaten what you already have. You start protecting rather than creating.


How to Win 1. Broad funnel. Research widely, explore unrelated areas for ideas, create a huge dataset of options. 2. Tight filter. Eliminate nearly everything. Focus only on the best options. Prioritize asymmetric opportunities: limited downside, unlimited upside. 3. Repeat.


Share your work. An idea that is never spoken or written down dies with the person who conceived it.


The Law of Attraction should really be called the Law of Attention. You are surrounded by information each day, but ignore most of it. When your attention shifts to a new problem, you seem to "magically" notice solutions and ideas related to that problem.


Believing a lie makes you an outcast if others think it is a lie. Believing a lie helps you belong if others believe it is true. Many ideas persist not because they are true, but because they are unifying.


No single act will uncover more creative genius than forcing yourself to create consistently. You have to show up before inspiration will.


Investors famously look for ideas that are “huge, if true.” But the mind is wired to believe ideas are “true, if huge.” We trust what others trust: users, reviews, word of mouth, consensus. This is the conundrum of investing. Every great opportunity initially feels untrue.


Always question your best ideas. Great thinkers, icons, and innovators think forward and backward. They drive their brain in reverse.


If there is one "thinking tool" everyone should have in their mental toolbox it is First Principles Thinking. It is the backbone of creativity and innovation, and a surefire way to think for yourself.


Even people of considerable talent rarely produce incredible work without decades of practice.

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