“Optimists win in the long-run because their miscalculation of how long it will take or how likely it is to succeed motivates them to give it a try.

If you knew how hard it would be and how long it would take in the beginning then you might not try in the first place.

You can't guarantee success, but you can guarantee failure: never try.”


“Your body adapts to what you eat.

Your mind adapts to what you consume.

Your soul adapts to what you love.

What you feed yourself today is who you become tomorrow.”


“One of the most underrated career skills that isn’t really taught anywhere is editing your own writing.

Great writing is actually re-writing. Simplifying paragraphs. Clarifying key points. Double-checking for typos.

Good writing will impress in any job.”



Author and journalist Anna Quindlen on being original:

“…nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect [in the way people expect] and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

“This is more difficult, because there is no zeitgeist to read, no template to follow, no mask to wear. Set aside what your friends expect, what your parents demand, what your acquaintances require. Set aside the messages this culture sends, through its advertising, its entertainment, its disdain and its disapproval, about how you should behave.

“Set aside the old traditional notion of female as nurturer and male as leader; set aside, too, the new traditional notions of female as superwoman and male as oppressor. Begin with that most terrifying of all things, a clean slate. Then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: for me, for me. Because they are who and what I am, and mean to be.

“This will always be your struggle whether you are twenty-one or fifty-one. I know this from experience. When I quit the New York Times to be a full-time mother, the voices of the world said that I was nuts. When I quit it again to be a full-time novelist, they said I was nuts again. But I am not nuts. I am happy. I am successful on my own terms. Because if your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

Source: 1999 Mount Holyoke Commencement Speech


John Gardner on failure:

“Everyone fails. [The professional boxer and world heavyweight champion] Joe Louis said ‘Everyone has to figure to get beat some time.' The question isn't did you fail, but did you pick yourself up and move ahead?

“And there is one other little question: Did you collaborate in your own defeat? A lot of people do. Learn not to.”

Source: Personal Renewal


This week's question builds on the quote from John Gardner above.

How are you collaborating in your defeat?

Don't take it the wrong way. This question doesn't mean your current situation is entirely your fault or even that it is 50/50. But the truth is you bring something into every interaction you will ever experience. (At the very least, you bring your attitude.)

How are you contributing to your own struggle?

Until next week,

James Clear
Author of the New York Times bestselling book, Atomic Habits
Creator of The Habits Academy and the Habit Journal

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