James Clear

James Clear quotes on opportunity

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

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1

The 3 Levels of Employees: Level 1 — You do what you are asked to do. Level 2 — Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen. Level 3 — Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them.

2

Anticipate, but don’t expect. Anticipation: You’re excited for what the future holds, but you don’t try to control it. Expectation: You try to predict the future and restrict your happiness to one outcome. Always be excited about the possibilities. Never be entitled to them.

3

Today might be the best chance you have to take action. The longer you wait, the more deeply embedded you get in your current lifestyle. Your habits solidify. Your beliefs harden. You get comfortable. It will never be easy, but it may also never be easier than it is right now.

4

How to see opportunities others miss: 1) Study a totally different field, then return to the original problem. Apply insights from other domains. 2) Invert the problem. Try to achieve the opposite. 3) Find ways to engage with hyper-creative people. Their thinking will rub off.

5

The way to attract good luck is to be reliable in a valuable area. The more you repeatedly deliver value, the more people seek you out for that value. Your reputation is a magnet. Once you become known for something, relevant opportunities come to you with no extra work.

6

Problem solving strategy: If you’re stuck, shift up a level or two (think bigger picture) or down a level or two (think finer details). Many problems are solvable at a different level. Note: Works for strategy too. You’ll often find a better opportunity at a different level.

7

Life is too short to not be pursuing the best opportunity you know of.

8

Whenever you see an overnight success, your eyes deceive you. What you are witnessing is the hour of opportunity unleashing the potential energy of previous choices. It was not one decision, but the accumulated power of all that came before. The fuse was lit on a loaded cannon.

9

A practical definition of opportunity cost: If you spend too much time working on good things, then you don’t have much time left to work on great things. Understanding opportunity cost means eliminating good uses of time. And that's what makes it hard.

10

3 crucial questions to ask when considering a new opportunity: (1) Power: How can I find an advantage relative to others? (2) Probability: How likely am I to succeed? (3) Payoff: How large is the payoff if I succeed? Great opportunities are favorable on all 3 dimensions.

11

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.

12

The most dangerous items on your to-do list are the ones that look like opportunities, but are actually distractions.

13

While results matter (and are what most people ultimately strive for), it’s better to focus on inputs over outputs because the world is complex and any single instance of success can be random. What you want is many shots on goal. Focusing on inputs means taking lots of shots.

14

Each day creates surface area for new opportunities. The longer you live, the more ideas, people, and options you encounter. Without active pruning, the natural path of any to-do list is to grow. As a result, a key skill in life is deciding what shouldn’t be done.

15

Momentum is a double-edged sword. It can propel you to new heights or keep you locked into previous choices and old habits. Years are wasted for no other reason than we tend to continue doing what we are already doing. Inertia eats opportunity.

16

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.

17

Good choices are how you create opportunities. Good habits are how you make the most of them.

18

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.

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