James Clear Newsletter

“The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”

3-2-1: Happiness, the value of risk, and the importance of ambition in poetry (and in life)

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | DECEMBER 22, 2022

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday! Just a quick reminder…

Atomic Habits is currently on sale at the lowest price I’ve seen: 56% off in the US and heavily discounted in the UK and Australia as well. A great way to start the New Year.

And now… here are 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week.

3 Ideas From Me


I was reviewing some old notes to myself recently and I found this one:

“You just need to have the courage to eliminate everything that doesn’t directly feed what you really want.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


“It is nearly impossible to have your best idea the first time you think about something.

The most likely way to uncover important insights is to frequently revisit a problem. The longer you’re in the game, the more ideas bubble up to the surface.

Time unlocks insights.”


An idea from Atomic Habits:

“Happiness is simply the absence of desire… Happiness is not about the achievement of pleasure (which is joy or satisfaction), but about the lack of desire. It arrives when you have no urge to feel differently. Happiness is the state you enter when you no longer want to change your state.”

2 Quotes From Others


Philosopher Simone Weil on the value of risk:

“Risk is an essential need of the soul. The absence of risk produces a kind of boredom which paralyses in a different way from fear, but almost as much.”

Source: The Need for Roots


Poet Donald Hall on the importance of ambition in poetry (and in life):

“I see no reason to spend your life writing poems unless your goal is to write great poems. An ambitious project—but sensible, I think. … If our goal is to write poetry, the only way we are likely to be any good is to try to be as great as the best.”

Source: Poetry and Ambition 

1 Question For You

How can I improve the energy of the situations I am involved in today?

You may not control the outcome, but you can influence it.

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Until next week,

James ClearAuthor of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker​


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