JAMES CLEAR – Newsletter

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3-2-1: Two ways to develop great ideas, a rule for life, and contentment

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | NOVEMBER 17, 2022

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday!

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

3 Ideas From Me


“Power is influence over external events.

Peace is influence over internal events.”

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“Persistence and variety. These are the two primary ways to develop great ideas or to solve important problems.

Keep leaning your head against a topic for a long time. Certainly for weeks, possibly for years. And along the way, try many lines of attack. Continue to generate options, explore paths, and propose silly ideas. Copy and paste concepts from widely different disciplines and see if it gets you anywhere. All the while, continue to refine the best solution you’ve found thus far.

What looks like genius may simply be the byproduct of persistence and variety.”


An idea from Atomic Habits:

“When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.”

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2 Quotes From Others


Designer, poet, and artist William Morris offers a rule for life:

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Source: Hopes and Fears for Art


The author Ruskin Bond on contentment:

“A small ginger cat arrives on my terrace every afternoon, to curl up in the sun and slumber peacefully for a couple of hours.

When he awakes, he gets on his feet with minimum effort, arches his back and walks away as he had come. The same spot every day, the same posture, the same pace. There may be better spots—sunnier, quieter, frequented by birds that can be hunted when the cat is rested and restored. But there is no guarantee, and the search will be never-ending, and there may rarely be time to sleep after all that searching and finding.

It occurs to me that perhaps the cat is a monk. By this I do not mean anything austere. I doubt anyone in single minded pursuit of enlightenment ever finds it. A good monk would be a mild sort of fellow, a bit of a sensualist, capable of compassion for the world, but also for himself. He would know that it is all right not to climb every mountain.

A good monk would know that contentment is easier to attain than happiness, and that it is enough.”

Source: A Book Of Simple Living (Hat tip to Vidya)

1 Question For You

Do I need to spend more time searching for better information or do I need to spend more time acting on the information I already have? Is the bottleneck strategy or execution?

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Until next week,

James ClearAuthor of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker​


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