James Clear Newsletter

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

3-2-1: Magical outcomes, being bold, and the persistence of nature

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | MARCH 9, 2023

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday!

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

3 Ideas From Me


“It’s rarely doing the work that is hard, it’s starting the work. Once you begin, it’s often less painful to continue working. This is why—in the beginning—it is often more important to build the habit of getting started than it is to worry about whether or not you are doing enough.”


“Imagine the outcome you want to create.

Envision where you are headed in great detail. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Don’t encourage yourself to be realistic. You will have to wrestle with reality soon enough. Don’t be your own bottleneck at this stage.

What would the magical outcome be?”


“Don’t rush, but don’t wait.

Act with urgency, but release yourself from the need to achieve it on a particular timeline. When you think longer term than most, you can think bigger than most.

If it takes years, start now.”

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2 Quotes From Others


Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer programming and a US Navy rear admiral, on being bold:

“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

Source: Only the Limits of Our Imagination


Farmer and writer, Wendell Berry, on the persistence of rivers:

“To a river, as to any natural force, an obstruction is merely an opportunity. For the river’s nature is to flow; it is not just spatial in dimension, but temporal as well. All things must yield to the impulse of the water in time, if not today then tomorrow or in a thousand years. If its way is obstructed then it goes around the obstruction or under it or over it and, flowing past it, wears it away. Men may dam it and say that they have made a lake, but it will still be a river. It will keep its nature and bide its time, like a caged wild animal alert for the slightest opening. In time it will have its way; the dam like the ancient cliffs will be carried away piecemeal in the currents.”

Source: The Unforeseen Wilderness

1 Question For You

This thing that I am unhappy about… is it actually hard to change or is it simply hard to have the courage to change it?

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Until next week,

James ClearAuthor of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker​

p.s. Go to your room.


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