James Clear

James Clear quotes on questioning

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

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1

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.

2

Good advice I received early on: When someone says no to your request, they usually mean “not right now” or “not in that way.” Most people want to help others, but there are many priorities competing for our time. Don’t take it personally. Ask again later. Ask differently.

3

The 3 meta-habits: Sleep - being well-rested improves performance on all other habits. Reading - you can learn how to improve any habit by reading. Questions - asking good questions continually provokes new insights for tweaking your habits.

4

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

5

Someone once suggested that I occasionally ask myself, “What am I really trying to achieve here?” Whenever I remember to do it, I find the question generates useful answers.

6

Before you dream about the view from the summit, ask yourself if you're willing to keep your head down, focus on the path, and spend your life walking up the side of a very big hill. It takes years of walking to earn a minute at the top.

7

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.

8

It’s more important to have good questions than good answers. Answers—even good ones—are context dependent. Questions are versatile. They can guide you even if the situation changes.

9

A little secret to life: You don't need the right answer to start. You can start by asking a question. Simply asking, "How can I be a better friend?" or "How can I be a healthy person?" will call forth answers naturally. In the beginning, just repeating the question is enough.

10

It costs nothing to ask a successful person how they succeeded, but it may deliver more value than 1,000 hours of hard work. Others are under no obligation to tell you their secrets, but it is surprising how much you can learn from sincere, direct, and thoughtful questions.

11

The person who asks questions is more helpful than the person who offers advice.

12

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.

13

Always question your best ideas. Great thinkers, icons, and innovators think forward and backward. They drive their brain in reverse.

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