Sunday, July 7, 2024

Snippets Of Wisdom From James Clear

Process beats Inspiration -

"The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to do an awful lot of work.

All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case."


Combinations of strengths -

"I'm not the best writer, but it is a strength. I might be a 90th percentile writer.

And I'm not the best marketer, but it is a strength. Again, maybe 90th percentile? I'm better than most, but if you pass 100 people on the street it won't be hard to find some people better than me.

What I have gradually learned is that it is not your strengths, but your combination of strengths that sets you apart. It is the fact that writing and marketing are mutually reinforcing—and that I enjoy both—that leads to great results.

How can you combine your strength? That's something I would encourage everyone to think about. You will find talented people in every area of life. It's the combinations that are rare."


Curiosity and Drive -

"People can help you in many ways throughout life, but there are two things nobody can give you: curiosity and drive. They must be self-supplied.

If you are not interested and curious, all the information in the world can be at your fingertips, but it will be relatively useless. If you are not motivated and driven, whatever connections or opportunities are available to you will be rendered inert.

Now, you won't feel curious and driven about every area of life, and that's fine. But it really pays to find something that lights you up. This is one of the primary quests of life: to find the thing that ignites your curiosity and drive.

There are many recipes for success. There is no single way to win. But nearly all recipes include two ingredients: curiosity and drive."


Hidden Costs -

"When you choose the benefits of an action, you also choose the drawbacks.

If you want to be an author, you can't only choose the finished novel and book signings. You are also choosing months of lonely typing. If you want to be a bodybuilder, you can't only choose the fit body and attention. You are also choosing the boring meals and calorie counting.

You have to want the lifestyle, not just the outcomes. Otherwise, it doesn't make any sense being jealous. The results of success are usually public and highly visible, but the process behind success is often private and hidden from view. It's easy to want the public rewards, but also have to want the hidden costs."


Being Selective -

"Productivity is most important for things you don't want to be doing. Most people want to increase productivity so they can spend less time on the task.

But before you worry about being more productive, think about being more selective. Rather than focusing on increasing productivity, it may be worth asking, "What would I be delighted to spend time on, even if it went slowly?"

Direct your energy toward figuring out how to start what you want to do rather than thinking about how to shorten what you don't want to do."


Gain energy by spending it -

"One of life's counterintuitive lessons is that you will often gain energy by spending a little bit of energy.

When you feel lethargic and like you want to lay around all day, it is usually the case that getting up and moving will make you feel better than simply sitting around. Getting outside for 10 minutes or doing the first set of a workout or simply stretching on the floor for a moment — anything to get your body moving — will often leave you feeling more energized.

If you want to get your day going, then get your body going. It's harder for the mind to be sluggish when the body is moving."


Time and Energy -

"I have learned that whenever I think "I don't have enough time to do that" what I usually mean is "I don't have enough energy" or "I am not actually interested in doing this."

What I need to do a better job of is not managing my time, but rather caring for myself and identifying my true interests. When I am well rested and working on something I am genuinely excited about, finding time is rarely a problem."


Using Curiosity -

"Curiosity can empower you or impede you.

Being curious and focused is a powerful combination. I define this combination as unleashing your curiosity within the domain of a particular task: asking questions about how things work, exploring different lines of attack for solving the problem, reading ideas from outside domains while always looking for ways to transfer the knowledge back to your main task, and so on. Even though you're exploring widely, you're generally moving the ball forward on the main thing. You start something and you keep searching until you find an effective way to finish it.

Meanwhile, when your curiosity sends you off in a dozen different directions and fractures your attention, then it can prevent you from focusing on one thing long enough to see it through to completion. Curious, but unfocused. You're jumping from one topic to the next, they aren't necessarily related, your efforts don't accumulate, you're simply exploring. You start many things and finish few.

How is your curiosity being directed? Is it rocket fuel or a roadblock?"


Keep the routine interesting -

"Mastery requires lots of practice. But the more you practice something, the more boring and routine it becomes.

Thus, an essential component of mastery is the ability to maintain your enthusiasm. The master continues to find the fundamentals interesting."


Little things add up -

"Excellence is mundane. Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into habit and then are fitted together in a synthesized whole. There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions; only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence.

When a swimmer learns a proper flip turn in the freestyle races, she will swim the race a bit faster; then a streamlined push off from the wall, with the arms squeezed together over the head, and a little faster; then how to place the hands in the water so no air is cupped in them; then how to lift them over the water; then how to lift weights to properly build strength, and how to eat the right foods, and to wear the best suits for racing, and on and on.

Each of those tasks seems small in itself, but each allows the athlete to swim a bit faster. And having learned and consistently practiced all of them together, and many more besides, the swimmer may compete in the Olympic Games... the little things really do count."


Mastery -

"Mastery is not only about getting better at your craft, but also about finding ways to eliminate the obstacles, distractions, and other annoyances that prevent you from working on your craft.

Top performers find ways to spend as much time as possible on what matters and as little time as possible on what doesn't. It is not someone else's responsibility to create the conditions for success.

You have to actively work to eliminate the things that don't matter from your workload. If you haven't figured out how to do that, you haven't mastered your craft."


Letting Go -

"Holding onto anger and resentment is like scuba diving with an anchor. As long as you're clinging to it, you're bound to the seabed, limited in movement, unable to appreciate the coral reefs and the colorful fish that dart in and out of view.

Forgiveness is letting go of the anchor. It isn't about declaring what was done to you is okay, but about unburdening yourself so you can swim freely. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It's the gift of letting go of the anchors you've been carrying."


Envy -

"You should always be rooting for the people you know. Not only because you may need their support tomorrow, but also because it feels good to celebrate something.

Celebration can rescue your day—even if it is someone else's victory. Envy will ruin your day—even if you're actually winning."


Jealousy -

"When I was young, I had a lot of jealousy in me... I learned to get rid of it. It still crops up every now and then. It's such a poisonous emotion because, at the end of the day, you're no better off, you're unhappier, and the person you're jealous of is still successful or good-looking, or whatever they are.​
I realized that all these people that I was jealous of, I couldn't just cherry-pick and choose little aspects of their life. I couldn't say I want his body; I want her money; I want his personality.​
You have to be that person. Do you want to actually be that person with all of their reactions, their desires, their family, their happiness level, their outlook on life, their self-image? If you're not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100% swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous."


Decisions -

"I think about decisions in three ways: hats, haircuts, and tattoos.

Most decisions are like hats. Try one and if you don’t like it, put it back and try another. The cost of a mistake is low, so move quickly and try a bunch of hats.

Some decisions are like haircuts. You can fix a bad one, but it won’t be quick and you might feel foolish for awhile. That said, don't be scared of a bad haircut. Trying something new is usually a risk worth taking. If it doesn't work out, by this time next year you will have moved on and so will everyone else.

A few decisions are like tattoos. Once you make them, you have to live with them. Some mistakes are irreversible. Maybe you'll move on for a moment, but then you'll glance in the mirror and be reminded of that choice all over again. Even years later, the decision leaves a mark. When you're dealing with an irreversible choice, move slowly and think carefully."


Muddy Puddles and Leaky Ceilings -

"I split problems into two groups: muddy puddles and leaky ceilings.

Some problems are like muddy puddles. The way to clear a muddy puddle is to leave it alone. The more you mess with it, the muddier it becomes. Many of the problems I dream up when I'm overthinking or worrying or ruminating fall into this category. Is life really falling apart or am I just in a sour mood? Is this as hard as I'm making it or do I just need to go workout? Drink some water. Go for a walk. Get some sleep. Go do something else and give the puddle time to turn clear.

Other problems are like a leaky ceiling. Ignore a small leak and it will always widen. Relationship tension that goes unaddressed. Overspending that becomes a habit. One missed workout drifting into months of inactivity. Some problems multiply when left unattended. You need to intervene now.

Are you dealing with a leak or a puddle?"


Courage -

"Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed."


Anger Management -

"My good friend and hero, Tom Murphy, had an incredible generosity of spirit. He would do five things for you without thinking about whether you did something for him. After he was done with those five things, he'd be thinking about how to do the sixth. He was also an enormously able person in business and was kind of effortless about it. He didn't have to shout or scream or anything like that. He did everything in a very relaxed manner.

Forty years ago, Tom gave me one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received. He said, "Warren, you can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow." It's such an easy way of putting it. You haven't missed the opportunity. Just forget about it for a day. If you feel the same way tomorrow, tell them then—but don't spout off in a moment of anger."


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