James Clear

James Clear quotes on perspective

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

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Build small habits, but make big plans. (1) Keep your daily actions small. Strive to get 1% better every day. (2) Keep your daily mindset big. Think about how you can play a bigger game. Always start small. Never play small.


The secret to winning is learning how to lose. That is, learning to bounce back from failure and disappointment—undeterred—and continuing to steadily march toward your potential. Your response to failure determines your capacity for success.


Reading is like fresh food for the mind. The consumption fills you with wisdom. Writing is like exercise for the mind. The effort leads to stronger ideas. Meditation is like fasting for the mind. The practice clears your mental digestive tract.


What is one “mindset shift” you find helpful? For example, switching from “I have to” to “I get to.” Instead of thinking “I have to exercise today,” try thinking, “I get to exercise today.” This little shift frames tasks as opportunities instead of obligations.


Some people need more focus. Others need to broaden their perspective. Some people need to try harder. Others need to stress less. Some people need to care more. Others need to let it go. The secret is you are both people. The key is to know which one you are in this moment.


In times of uncertainty, your habits can ground you. When you feel overwhelmed, practice 1 minute of mindfulness. When you feel restless, do a 1-minute workout. When the world seems uncontrollable, focus on what you can control. Stick to your routines in whatever way you can.


I’d estimate at least half of my frustrations with others are actually frustrations with myself for failing to set clear boundaries and stand by them.


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 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.


The mind that asks a lot of questions is self-correcting.


Something undesirable happened? Make the best move under the current circumstances rather than wishing to return to the previous circumstances. “Next Play” mentality.


The process of growth is the process of choosing your values, beliefs, and actions rather than imitating them.


It is crucial to keep an open mind—particularly when you are young. The world is big and the space of possible approaches is vast. It is unlikely the first idea you come across is also the optimal idea. The most important prison to avoid is that of a narrow mind.


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.)


A beginner’s mind + an expert’s grind. Potent combination.


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.


Limiting beliefs are problems to solve not reasons to quit.


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


One pitfall of modern life is that we often measure ourselves by that which is easy to measure. -the number on the scale -the ROI of the portfolio -the number of likes on a post It is unlikely that what can be measured is the best way to measure a life. You are not a number.


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.


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.


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.


It's unhealthy to fill your stomach with junk food. But it's just as bad to fill your mind with junk thoughts or your life with junk people.


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.


Beware: When a certain worldview dominates your thinking, you’ll try to explain every problem you face through that worldview. Read widely.


The best way to change the world is in concentric circles: start with yourself and work your way out from there.


There are n+1 versions of reality. n = the number of living beings in the universe. Each one perceives the world differently and creates its own reality. Then, there is the actual physical reality of the universe. No one has full access to it, but, presumably, it still exists.


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

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