James Clear

Best quotes by James Clear

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

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There are 4 types of wealth: 1. Financial wealth (money) 2. Social wealth (status) 3. Time wealth (freedom) 4. Physical wealth (health) Be wary of jobs that lure you in with 1 and 2, but rob you of 3 and 4.


Habits that have a high rate of return in life: - sleep 8+ hours each day - lift weights 3x week - go for a walk each day - save at least 10 percent of your income - read every day - drink more water and less of everything else - leave your phone in another room while you work


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.


Real wealth is not about money. Real wealth is: -not having to go to meetings -not having to spend time with jerks -not being locked into status games -not feeling like you have to say “yes” -not worrying about others claiming your time and energy Real wealth is about freedom.


Aim to be great in 10 years. Build health habits today that lead to a great body in 10 years. Build social habits today that lead to great relationships in 10 years. Build learning habits today that lead to great knowledge in 10 years. Long-term thinking is a secret weapon.


5 good minutes of: -pushups is a solid workout -sprints will leave you winded -writing can deliver 1 good page -reading can finish an insightful article -meditation can reset your mood You don’t need more time—just a little focused action.


Your 1st blog post will be bad, but your 1000th will be great. Your 1st workout will be weak, but your 1000th will be strong. Your 1st meditation will be scattered, but your 1000th will be focused. Put in your reps.


The ultimate productivity hack is saying no.


Entrepreneur’s mind. Athlete’s body. Artist’s soul.


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


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.


I have a suspicion that most adults (75%+) could pick any skill—excluding sports—and work their way into the top 10% in the world simply by working exclusively on it every day for two years. But almost nobody displays that degree of focus, so we will never know.


When making plans, think big. When making progress, think small.


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.


Lack of confidence kills more dreams than lack of ability. Talent matters—especially at elite levels—but people talk themselves out of giving their best effort long before talent becomes the limiting factor. You're capable of more than you know. Don't be your own bottleneck.


New goals don't deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is a process, not an outcome. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results.


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.


Most people think they lack motivation when they really lack clarity.


Don’t spend what you haven’t earned. Avoid financial debt. Don’t spend money you haven’t earned. Avoid social debt. Don’t spend goodwill you haven’t earned. Avoid calendar debt. Don’t spend (free) time you haven’t earned. The disciplined earner can be a guilt-free spender.


Be “selectively ignorant.” Ignore topics that drain your attention. Unfollow people that drain your energy. Abandon projects that drain your time. Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgable you can be.


Maturity is learning how to start when you feel like procrastinating and learning how to listen when you feel like talking.


Success is largely the failures you avoid. Health is the injuries you don't sustain. Wealth is the purchases you don't make. Happiness is the objects you don't desire. Peace of mind is the arguments you don't engage. Avoid the bad to protect the good.


“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.


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.


Greatness is consistency. Meditating once is common. Meditating daily is rare. Exercising today is simple. Training every week is simply remarkable. Writing one essay doesn’t mean much. Writing every day practically makes you a hero. Unheroic days can make for heroic decades.


There are 3 primary drivers of results in life: 1) Your luck (randomness). 2) Your strategy (choices). 3) Your actions (habits). Only 2 of the 3 are under your control. But if you master those 2, you can improve the odds that luck will work for you rather than against you.


What looks like talent is often careful preparation. What looks like skill is often persistent revision.


The difference between motion and action. Motion: -talk to a personal trainer -research your book idea -explore different types of meditation Action: -do 10 squats -write 1 sentence -meditate for 1 minute Motion feels like progress. Action is progress.


A phrase I heard recently and found useful: “I agree with the idea, but disagree with the tone.” Many ideas get dismissed because they are delivered in a cocky/hostile/dismissive tone—or because of who delivers them. This phrase encourages you to separate substance from style.


Go smaller. Can't learn an exercise? Reduce the range of motion. Struggling to grasp a new concept? Break it down. Failing to stick with a habit? Make it easy. Master stage one, then advance.


Do the most important thing first each day and you'll never have an unproductive day.


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


Balance is timing, not intensity. It is not doing multiple tasks at 80%, but developing the skill of turning it on and turning it off. Sleep fully, then work intensely. Focus deeply, then relax completely. Give each phase your full attention. Balance is "when to" not "how to."


Compliment others more. You’ll barely remember you did it, but the other person may never forget that you did. Kindness has unlimited upside.


Externally, be humble. Internally, be confident.


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.


It’s crazy how 1,000 people can compliment you and you’ll spend all day thinking about the one person who criticized you.


Asymmetric advice: Advice from someone who can’t use it. -A rich person saying “Money isn’t everything.” -A fit person saying “Beauty is on the inside.” -A powerful person saying “Stop caring what others think of you.” It’s easy to give advice when you don’t face the downside.


How to 80/20 your life: (1) Make a list of the 10 things you spend the most time on. (2) Circle the two that truly drive your results. Do more of those. (3) Look at the others. Eliminate ruthlessly. Automate or outsource what you can. Press pause on the rest. (4) Repeat.


Your actions are a consequence of your thoughts. Your thoughts are a consequence of what you consume. And in the modern age, what you consume is largely a consequence of how you select and refine your social media feed. Choose better inputs. Get better outputs.


The success you see others experiencing is rarely as sexy as it appears to be.


The two skills of modern business: Storytelling and spreadsheets. Know the numbers. Craft the narrative.


Be forgiving with your past self. Be strict with your present self. Be flexible with your future self.


The trick to writing well is to... - take long sentences and make them short - take confusing ideas and make them clear - take unrelated concepts and make them related ...without losing the main idea in the process.


It's better to do less than you hoped than nothing at all. No zero days.


If you genuinely care about the goal, you’ll focus on the system.


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.


The most powerful force in the universe is compounded attention. Anyone can focus on meaningful actions every now and then, but hammering away on what matters day after day is what delivers exceptional results. What you focus on becomes your life.


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.

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