James Clear

James Clear quotes on problem Solving

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

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Working on a problem reduces the fear of it. It’s hard to fear a problem when you are making progress on it—even if progress is imperfect and slow. Action relieves anxiety.


Solve big problems early. Rebound after one missed workout, not a decade of inactivity. Repair a strained relationship the next day, not years later. Fix overspending before it becomes a lifestyle. Problems with simple solutions at first become difficult to unwind over time.


We want solutions, but what we really need are attitudes. You don't need abs, but rather an attitude of training. You don't need the answer, but rather an attitude of curiosity. You don't need an easier life, but rather an attitude of perseverance. Attitude precedes outcome.


You need focus to become exceptional at anything. You have to be great at saying no. Massive amounts of time and energy are wasted optimizing things that should be left undone.


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


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.


Leadership is: 1) Getting results 2) Making people feel good 3) Connecting each person to a bigger mission The good leaders do one. The great leaders do two. The best leaders do all three.


Before you throw more time at the problem, throw more focused action at the problem. You don’t need more time, you need fewer distractions.


Mastery is the process of continuing to solve the same problem in new ways rather than stopping at an acceptable solution.


When a problem small enough to handle is ignored it often grows into a problem too big to manage.


The hardest part of solving a problem is accurately defining it.


“The four idea principles are: (1) Find a human need, an unsolved problem (2) Master all of the essentials of the problem (3) Give a new “twist” to an old principle (4) Believe in your idea—and act!” —Bruce Lee


Optimists solve problems when they arise. Pessimists invent problems before they start.


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.


What are you passionate about? What is your purpose? What is your one true calling? Questions like these are popular, but can be hard to answer. Inversion provides clarity: You can discover what you want to do simply by eliminating everything you don't want to do.


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.


The result of creativity and innovation is new ideas, but the cause of creativity and innovation is more ideas. The person with a bigger intellectual toolbox has more entry points and additional lines of attack to solve problems. Read widely. Explore broadly. Then apply.


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.


High performance often hides behind boring solutions and underused insights. The fundamentals aren't sexy. They just work.


It’s remarkable how often the real problem is not what happened, but how it was communicated.


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.


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

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