James Clear

James Clear quotes on personal learning / growth

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

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Most people need consistency more than they need intensity. Intensity: -run a marathon -write a book in 30 days -silent meditation retreat Consistency: -don't miss a workout for 2 years -write every week -daily silence Intensity makes a good story. Consistency makes progress.


We often avoid taking action because we think "I need to learn more," but the best way to learn is often by taking action.


The person who learns the most in any classroom is the teacher. Lesson: If you really want to learn a topic, then “teach” it. Write a book. Teach a class. Build a product. Start a company. The act of making something will force you to learn more deeply than reading ever will.


“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.


Read books that are relevant to what you want to achieve and reading will never seem boring.


To improve, compare little things. -marketing strategies -exercise technique -writing tactics To be miserable, compare big things. -career path -marriage -net worth Comparison is the thief of joy when applied broadly, but the teacher of skills when applied narrowly.


When you need to learn quickly, learn from others. When you need to learn deeply, learn from experience.


Correct your mistakes before they become your habits.


5 things to consider removing next year: -one toxic person -one annoying customer -one topic that robs your attention -one belief that’s holding you back -one commitment that isn’t worth the effort You don’t have to add things to your life to improve it.


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


Your body adapts to what you eat. Your mind adapts to what you consume. Your soul adapts to what you love. What you feed yourself today is who you become tomorrow.


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.


It is better to start as a fool and learn from your mistakes than to fake being a genius and ignore your errors.


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.


As a student, I usually enjoyed school, but only because I was good at “playing the game” of school. As an adult, I’m struck by how much more fun it is to learn. For a curious person, right now is the best time ever to be alive. You can learn whatever you want. It’s incredible.


School requires you to learn about things after the answer has already been decided. Life requires you to learn about things while the answer is in the process of being decided.


Progress requires unlearning.


Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.


Pros are just amateurs who learned from their mistakes.


When the world doesn’t make sense, it is a signal that you need to learn.


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


There are nearly endless opportunities to improve each day and finding them largely boils down to being curious. People who are better in the end are usually curious in the beginning.


Study as if you know nothing. Work as if you can solve anything.


The fastest way to iterate is to learn from others. - Read good books - Talk to people who have done it before - Soak up the lessons of the past Learn from the experiments history has already run and you can start the race halfway finished.


Reading can teach you the best of what others already know. Reflection can teach you the best of what only you can know.


Growth is trading discomfort in the moment for satisfaction in the future. Decline is trading satisfaction in the moment for discomfort in the future.


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.


When feedback is immediate, clear, and concrete, people learn quickly. When feedback is delayed, abstract, and opaque, people rarely learn.


If you never copy best practices, you’ll have to repeat all the mistakes yourself. If you only copy best practices, you’ll always be one step behind the leaders.


For years, I would force myself to write at least 25 possible titles for each article. Almost without fail, the best ideas came later in the list. The lesson: Don’t stop early. Ideas that are easy to think of are obvious. The good ideas come after the obvious ones are gone.


The climb to the top is better than the view from the peak. It’s progress, not perfection, that we really crave.


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.


The optimal strategy might be executing a suboptimal plan at a fast pace. Strategy evolves as lessons are learned—and the person who moves faster, learns faster. Learning is a marathon and perfection is a weighted vest.


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


Improvement is an endless game. You can finish: -building a profitable company -writing a bestseller -winning a championship You can never finish: -perfecting your craft -learning all you can -maximizing your potential The way to win is to master that which can never be won.


3 tips for getting started as a writer 1. Publish on a schedule. Consistency develops ability. 2. Share your writing publicly. Writing is a magnet. It attracts like-minded people. 3. Write about what fascinates you. You don't need to be an expert. Curiosity leads to expertise.


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


The most practical decision making skill is not making better choices. It is learning how to design your choices so they are cheap, fast, and easy to reverse. The person who does this well learns faster, and the person who learns faster finds the right answer.


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.


There’s something fake about most productivity advice. Don’t bother: - completing every todo list item - responding to every email - finishing every book It’s not how productive people actually live. These proxies for productivity have little to do with getting actual results.


Getting a PhD is far more expensive than I initially realized. The true cost of a PhD is not merely the cost of school. You lose nearly a decade of earnings during the exact period when your savings would compound the most. Even if you get a full ride, it might not be worth it.


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.


Everyone ages at the same rate. One second at a time. Not everyone feels the same age. Master your health habits and you can buy yourself more time. Not everyone learns at the same rate. Master your learning habits and you can make more of the time you have.


When learning, explore widely. When mastering, focus narrowly.


When an online course tells you how to make money in real estate remember they are making money by selling online courses. When a conference covers how to build an online business remember they are building an event business. Learn from what people do as much as what they say.


Action forces prioritization. If you're stuck deciding between multiple options, force yourself to act. You can only act on one thing at a time, which means you will have to make something the top priority. Even if you pick wrong, you'll learn something.


Perfection is brittle. Imperfection is antifragile. The more you try to appear flawless—in work, in love, in life—the less you can “have problems.” But if you identify as someone who is always learning and evolving, then facing problems is normal and you can start solving them.


The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change: What is rewarded is repeated. What is punished is avoided. You learn what to do in the future based on what you were rewarded for doing (or punished for doing) in the past. Positive emotions cultivate habits. Negative emotions destroy them.


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


Whenever you succeed with a small habit, you add a little to your general ability to stick with good habits. With each repeated success, your ability grows as does your trust and confidence in yourself. Slowly, you develop the ability to be consistent even in tough conditions.

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