James Clear

James Clear quotes on knoweledge

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

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Aim to be great in 10 years. Build health habits today that lead to a great body in 10 years. Build social habits today that lead to great relationships in 10 years. Build learning habits today that lead to great knowledge in 10 years. Long-term thinking is a secret weapon.


A strategy for thinking clearly: Rather than trying to be right, assume you are wrong and try to be less wrong. Trying to be right has a tendency to devolve into protecting your beliefs. Trying to be less wrong has a tendency to prompt more questions and intellectual humility.


Be “selectively ignorant.” Ignore topics that drain your attention. Unfollow people that drain your energy. Abandon projects that drain your time. Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgable you can be.


The two skills of modern business: Storytelling and spreadsheets. Know the numbers. Craft the narrative.


The highest level of mastery is simplicity. Most information is irrelevant and most effort is wasted, but only the expert knows what to ignore.


Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. You get what you repeat.


Italy is known for tomatoes. Thailand for chilies. Germany for sauerkraut. But tomatoes originated in Peru. Thailand imported chilies from Central America. Sauerkraut started in China. Everything is a remix—and the world is better for it. Share what you know. Learn from others.


In a world where information is abundant and easy to access, the real advantage is knowing where to focus.


You can borrow knowledge, but not action.


The Paradox of Freedom—the way to expand your freedom is to narrow your focus. Stay focused on saving to achieve financial freedom. Stay focused on training to achieve physical freedom. Stay focused on learning to achieve intellectual freedom. The disciplined become the free.


Optimize for tomorrow—as in, literally, one day from now. Save to be a little richer tomorrow. Exercise to be a little fitter tomorrow. Read to be a little smarter tomorrow. 1% better every day.


Knowledge is the compound interest of curiosity.


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.


Every skill you have was once unknown to you. The human brain is a learning machine. Stick with it.


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.


If you wish you would take something more seriously, do it publicly. Publishing an article pressures you to think clearly. Competing in a race pressures you to train consistently. Presenting on any topic pressures you to learn it. Social pressure forces you to up your game.


Build before you have to. - Build knowledge before you have to. - Build strength before you have to. - Build an emergency fund before you have to. Let internal pressure drive you today, so you can handle external pressure tomorrow.


Innovators are T-shaped. They are experts in a narrow field. But they also have a big intellectual toolbox, which offers new entry points and lines of attack for solving problems. Read widely. As the saying goes, "Know something about everything and everything about something."


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.


Entrepreneurship is the most accelerated school you can attend. You’ll never learn faster than when you have to learn fast to survive.


If you ask, “Who is the richest person in the world?” ... you can come up with a reasonable answer. But if you ask, “Who is the happiest person in the world?” ... it’s nearly impossible to know. Many of the most important things in life remain mysterious and hard to quantify.


Knowledge is information. Wisdom is application.


The surest way to prevent yourself from learning a topic is to believe you already know it.


Stories change more minds than facts. The way to change someone’s mind is not to present them with overwhelming evidence but to motivate them with overwhelming emotion. (Ideally, you’d have truth on your side and a story worth spreading.)


If you do not like your results in a particular area it is rarely your intellect that deserves the blame, but rather where you have directed your intellect. Results are purchased by how you spend your attention.


It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop. - It’s remarkable the business you can build if you don’t stop working. - It’s remarkable the body you can build if you don’t stop training. - It’s remarkable the knowledge you can build if you don’t stop learning.


Modern society is defined by an excess of opportunity. We have more information, more products, and more options than ever before. As a result, curating, filtering, and refining are more important skills than ever before. Those who edit best will find the signal in the noise.


Your teaching ability is constrained by your writing ability. If you can’t write it down, it will be nearly impossible to teach it to others.


The 3-Step Cycle of Developing an Extraordinary Mind 1) Explore widely. Follow many people, listen to tons of podcasts, read more books. 2) Clean up your information feed. Subscribe to fewer newsletters, follow fewer people, re-read great books. All signal, no noise. 3) Repeat


If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. However, if you’re the dumbest person in the room, you’re also in the wrong room. Do the reading, hone your skills, and prepare diligently. Earn the right to be in the room.


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.


The ridiculous jargon and impossible-to-decipher writing style of academic papers is a loss for all of us. Read Feynman or Hawking or Popper and you‘ll see complex topics do not require complex writing. Instead, many of our brightest minds are effectively hiding their insights.


Over 107 billion people have lived throughout history. These people tried things, failed, learned, and tried differently. Sometimes, they found new solutions. The cumulative lessons of those 107 billion have been passed down to you. It is the greatest gift you will ever receive.


All information is “new” the first time you hear it. When you come across an idea and think, “Isn’t that obvious?”... it just means you learned it earlier in life. The curse of knowledge is that you underestimate how powerful “obvious” ideas can be to anyone for whom it is new.


Intelligence is interdependent. No single person can build a smartphone from scratch. Together we make them every day. The great multiplier of intelligence is cooperation. The collective brain of humanity vaults us to the top of the animal kingdom, not individual smarts.


Bad habits and toxic relationships can become a crutch. They hurt us, but we know *how* they’ll hurt us. Meanwhile, improving your life is possible, but trying new things also involves uncertainty. Many people would rather repeat a known pain than deal with an unknown risk.


Compared to what can be known about the universe, the knowledge of humankind is a drop in the ocean. Compared to the knowledge of humankind, what one person can know is also a drop in the ocean.


Paradoxically, the people who have the results that so many desire don’t actually care much about it. The fittest people love the pursuit of fitness, not fitness itself. The smartest people love the pursuit of knowledge, not showing off.


I’m becoming less convinced that people are “irrational” and more convinced that when you see behavior that looks irrational it's because (1) you don’t understand that person’s goals, (2) you don't have all the info or (3) you're viewing the situation on a different time horizon.


Knowing that a cognitive bias exists does not prevent you from falling victim to that bias.


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.


From Chapter 13 of Atomic Habits: "A habit must be established before it can be improved. If you can’t learn the basic skill of showing up, then you have little hope of mastering the finer details. Master the art of showing up."


Don't ignore the answer just because you don't like the answer. You might not *like* tracking calories, but don't claim there is no way to lose weight. You might not *like* writing each day, but don't create excuses for your unfinished book. Solutions exist even when ignored.


Use what you already know. Claiming you need to “learn more” or “get your ducks in a row” is just a crutch that prevents you from starting.


Learning is easy. Application is hard. Most of the time we know what to do, but never do it. Doing it is the difference.


Making remarkable progress is not about doing more with what you have. It's about choosing to do less and mastering what remains.


One of the most underappreciated ways to increase your intelligence and avoid mental mistakes is to use a strategy known as inversion.


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


Just found a box filled with notes I wrote to myself years ago. I like this one: 1. Know what you want. 2. Go after it relentlessly.


All perspectives hold some truth. None of them contain the complete truth.

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