James Clear’s Newsletter

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3-2-1: A simple way to win, a common trapping of success, and how to apologize

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | NOVEMBER 10, 2022

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday!

Here are 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week.

3 Ideas From Me


“One good day does not mean you can coast tomorrow. You never have it fully licked. Making good choices is an endless process. Many areas of life that we value most—our relationships, our fitness, our craft—require a continual commitment.”

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“One of the simplest ways to win is to always connect the small things you do to the larger thing you hope to accomplish.

Five minutes can be spent working on something trivial or working on something life-changing. A brief session of work oriented toward a great cause is always time well spent.

Most daily actions evaporate. Some accumulate.”

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“One of the common trappings of success is overproducing.

Companies make money and rapidly expand their product line. Authors become popular and churn out books at a faster clip.

Scale can empower, but it can also dilute. Something is lost when quantity is valued over quality.

You have to maintain your standards even when all the forces around you seem to be calling for growth. Push back against more, more, more and remain committed to better, better, better.”

2 Quotes From Others


Computer science professor Randy Pausch on how to apologize:

“A good apology is like antibiotic, a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.”

Source: The Last Lecture


Author Rebecca Solnit on growing whole rather than growing up:

“Growing up, we say, as though we were trees, as though altitude was all that there was to be gained, but so much of the process is growing whole as the fragments are gathered, the patterns found. Human infants are born with craniums made up of four plates that have not yet knit together into a solid dome so that their heads can compress to fit through the birth canal, so that the brain within can then expand. The seams of these plates are intricate, like fingers interlaced, like the meander of arctic rivers across tundra.The skull quadruples in size in the first few years, and if the bones knit together too soon, they restrict the growth of the brain; and if they don’t knit at all the brain remains unprotected. Open enough to grow and closed enough to hold together is what a life must also be. We collage ourselves into being, finding the pieces of a worldview and people to love and reasons to live and then integrate them into a whole, a life consistent with its beliefs and desires, at least if we’re lucky.”

Source: Recollections of My Nonexistence

1 Question For You

The question is not, “Will I succeed?” but rather, “What should I attempt?”

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Until next week,

James ClearAuthor of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker​

p.s. How to introduce yourself to the devil.


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