From James Clear’s Newsletter

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

3-2-1: The value of leaving things alone, nonmaterial needs, and broadening your interests

read on | May 4, 2023

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday!

Quick note: It’s graduation season. If you’re looking to get a nice gift for a graduate, then consider the combo of Atomic Habits + 1% Better Every Day pen. Wherever their next chapter leads, habits will help them.

Alright, time to have some fun…

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

3 Ideas From Me


“It’s hard to grow beyond something if you won’t let go of it.”

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“Broaden your interests. It’s nice to have at least one surprising hobby or passion. People find it interesting. In many ways, the part of you that is least expected is more respected.”

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“Talent is rarely enough to assure victory and bad luck is rarely enough to guarantee defeat.

Do they influence the outcome? Of course. But your response will always sway the final tally.”

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2 Quotes From Others


Jesuit priest and writer Baltasar Gracian on the value of leaving things alone:

“Know how to leave things alone, for if knowing how to refuse is one of life’s great lessons, an even greater one is knowing how to say no to yourself, to important people, and in business. There are non-essential activities, moths of precious time, and it’s worse to take an interest in irrelevant things than to do nothing at all.”

Source: The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence


Systems engineer and environmental scientist Donella Meadows on nonmaterial needs:

“People don’t need enormous cars; they need admiration and respect. They don’t need a constant stream of new clothes; they need to feel that others consider them to be attractive, and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don’t need electronic entertainment; they need something interesting to occupy their minds and emotions. And so forth.

Trying to fill real but nonmaterial needs—for identity, community, self-esteem, challenge, love, joy—with material things is to set up an unquenchable appetite for false solutions to never-satisfied longings. A society that allows itself to admit and articulate its nonmaterial human needs, and to find nonmaterial ways to satisfy them, world require much lower material and energy throughputs and would provide much higher levels of human fulfillment.”

Source: The Limits to Growth

1 Question For You

When you’re living a good day, what is one habit that tends to be part of that day? Can you find time for that habit today?


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