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"Arguably the most important skill is controlling your attention. This goes beyond merely avoiding distractions. The deeper skill is finding the highest and best use for your time, given what is important to you. More than anything else, controlling your attention is about being able to figure out what you should be working on and identifying what truly moves the needle."

- James Clear

"When you're doing something hard, focus on the fun part.

Many people make a subtle mistake, which is they emphasize how difficult it is to do something. They tell themselves writing is hard or running is hard or math is hard. And so on. The dominant thought in their mind is that this is hard to do.

And it is true these things (and many others in life) can be challenging.

Meanwhile, people who thrive in a given area are often emphasizing a completely different aspect of the experience. They are thinking about how it feels good to move their body rather than telling themselves exercise is hard. Or, perhaps, they aren't really thinking much at all. They may slip into a trance during their run, a meditative rhythm.

But what they are almost certainly not doing is repeating a mental story about how hard it is to do the thing. Their dominant thought is about some element of the experience they enjoy. They are working hard, but with the fun part in mind. "

- James Clear

"The odds increase, the more you try."

- James Clear

"People spend a lot of time talking about other people's bodies, gossiping about other people's relationships, critiquing other people's business, etc.

Keep your eyes on your own paper. Work on your body. Nurture your relationships. Improve your business.

We all have plenty to improve."

- James Clear

"Enough courage to get started + enough sense to focus on something you’re naturally suited for + enough persistence to stay in the game long enough to catch a few lucky breaks + a lot of hard work. There’s your recipe."

- James Clear

"Explore life from a position of power.

When you believe, "Even if I stay single, I'll still have a great life" ... then you are in a much better position to enter a relationship.

When you believe, "Even if I don't get into this school, I'll still have a great life" ... then you are in a much better position to apply.

When you believe, "Even if I don't succeed with this business, I'll still have a great life" ... then you are in a much better position to give it a try.

Sure, you may want the relationship to work or the business to be a success—and you should give it your best effort—but also realize that if it doesn't work out, you'll be fine. There are many ways to live a great life."

- James Clear

"Who does the work? Who bears the consequences? Who reaps the rewards? When the incentives are aligned, it's the same person."

- James Clear

"It's not that hard on any given day, but the trick is you can't skip days. Your workouts can be reasonable and still deliver results—if you don't skip days. Your writing sessions can be short and the work will still accumulate—if you don't skip days. As long as you're working, you'll get there."

- James Clear

"When nothing is working, explore and make a lot of small bets.

After something starts working, double down on what works best.

When that stops working, explore and make a lot of small bets again."

- James Clear

"You're more likely to unlock a big leap in performance by trying differently than by trying harder. You might be able to work 10% harder, but a different approach might work 10x better. Remain focused on the core problem, but explore a new line of attack. Persistence is not just about effort, but also strategy. Don't merely try harder, try differently."

- James Clear

"Work hard.

If results depend on effort, then you will carry yourself far.

If results depend on effort and luck, then you will have done what you can to influence the outcome.

And if results depend on luck alone, then the outcome is random, but you will have won the battle with yourself."

- James Clear

"We want solutions, but what we really need are attitudes.

You don’t need abs, but rather an attitude of training. You don’t need the answer, but rather an attitude of curiosity. You don’t need an easier life, but rather an attitude of perseverance.

Attitude precedes outcome."

- James Clear

"Being good at what you do is partially about competence, but not exclusively.

Two other things that matter:

Reliability. You do what you say you're going to do—on time and as expected.

Enthusiasm. You're excited to be here and eager to work on this problem.

Skills matter, but in many cases it's your reliability or attitude that separates you from the pack. "

- James Clear

"Avoiding mistakes is an underrated way to improve. It's easier to fend off a bad day than achieve a perfect day. Rather than do your best, avoid your worst."

- James Clear

"Highly focused people do not leave their options open. They select their priorities and are comfortable ignoring the rest. If you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything."

- James Clear

"Start with the thing you are most motivated to do.

Start with a small habit you think is fun and do it consistently. This will not only feel satisfying, but also open your eyes to the type of person you can become.

After the first domino falls, you can use the momentum to do a little more."

- James Clear

"Life rewards action, not intelligence.

Many brilliant people talk themselves out of getting started, and being smart doesn't help very much without the courage to act.

You can't win if you're not in the game."

- James Clear

"Small things matter when they accumulate. This is one of the main lessons of my work—and one of the principles I try to follow in my life. The details, when finely polished and carefully combined, add up to something remarkable."

- James Clear

"People usually judge you based on where you are at currently, not what you could become eventually. Don't let one comment stop you from trying. File it away or use it as fuel. Focus on getting better. Someone else's analysis of your current position doesn't tell you anything about your current potential."

- James Clear

"Many people care more about being right than being happy."

- James Clear

"You can be relaxed and dedicated. Just because you worry more, doesn't mean you care more."

- James Clear

"The person who focuses on one task and sees it through to completion—even if they work in a somewhat slow or outdated manner—beats the endless optimizer who jumps from tool to tool and always hopes a new piece of technology will help them finish what they start."

- James Clear

"The myth is that there isn't enough time. There is plenty of time. There isn't enough focus with the time you have. You win by directing your attention toward better things."

- James Clear

"It's easier to notice when you lose money than when you lose time. Be sure you're making the trade you want."

- James Clear

"It generally feels better to run toward something than to run away from something. Focus on what is pulling you in, not what you're trying to avoid."

- James Clear

"The most invisible form of wasted time is doing a good job on an unimportant task."

- James Clear

"Live the Pareto Principle lifestyle:

Relationships. Who are the few people that have the most positive impact on my life? Spend more time with them.

Priorities. What are the few actions that have the most positive impact on my day? Prioritize them.

Learning. What are the few information sources I learn the most from? Focus on them.

Stress. What are the few sources that cause most of the stress and friction in my life? Eliminate them."

- James Clear

"Just because improvements aren't visible doesn't mean they aren't happening.

You're not going to see the number change each time you step on the scale. You're not going to finish a chapter each time you sit down to write.

Early wins come easy. Lasting wins require a lifestyle."

- James Clear

"Be excited for people when they succeed.

When a friend or family member reaches an important milestone like getting a promotion or making their first sale or scoring acceptance into their desired program, celebrate it. Buy them a drink. Send them a card. Tell them you’re proud to know them.

Being thrilled on someone’s behalf is a lovely way to be. Winning is better when shared."

- James Clear

"The best way to change the world is in concentric circles: start with yourself and work your way out from there."

- James Clear

"10 years or 1 hour. Those are the two time frames worth prioritizing.

10 years is shorthand for thinking longer-term than nearly everyone else and doing things that are really ambitious or meaningful. Most of the deeply meaningful things in life require long time horizons: building a business, cultivating a happy marriage, growing a family, getting in the best shape of your life, etc.

How do you work toward the 10-year things? In 1 hour increments. 1 hour is shorthand for doing things that can be accomplished from start to finish in a single session like a good workout, a good writing session, reading a chapter of a book, going on a fun date, etc. The key is that you finish with something accomplished, not with half-work still waiting to be completed.

If you spend 1 hour working toward a 10-year project—and you repeat this day after day—you’re going to end up living a lovely life."

- James Clear

"Sometimes all you need for exceptional results is average effort repeated for an above-average amount of time."

- James Clear

"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."

- James Clear

"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."

- James Clear

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

- James Clear

"Time assets vs. Time debts.

Time assets are choices that save you time in the future. Think: saying no to a meeting, automating a task, working on something that persists and compounds.

Time debts are choices that must be repaid and cost you time in the future. Think: saying yes to a meeting, doing sloppy work that will need to be revised, etc.

Time assets are an investment. Time debts are an expense."

- James Clear

"Something I heard recently and I've tried to adopt whenever possible:

Whoever has the most fun, wins."

- James Clear

"On any given day, you may struggle with your habits because you're too busy or too tired or too overwhelmed or hundreds of other reasons. Over the long run, the real reason you fail to stick with habits is that your self-image gets in the way. This is why you can’t get too attached to one version of your identity.

Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity."

- James Clear

"Many people assume they are bad at writing because it is hard. This is like assuming you are bad at weightlifting because the weight is heavy.

Writing is useful because it is hard. It's the effort that goes into writing a clear sentence that leads to better thinking."

- James Clear

"Many people won't attempt something unless they can find an example of someone else who is already doing it. Rely on this type of thinking too much and you'll never do anything interesting.

Your path through life is unique. It is important to extract lessons from the experiences of others, but you can't wait for a perfect example to take action. You are the example."

- James Clear

"Speed is perpetually undervalued.

Asking that person out today means you get to live more of your life with them and less of your life waiting.

Starting your business today means you begin learning immediately and have more time to figure out what works.

Go fast. The future is never guaranteed and the right time may never come."

- James Clear

"You are the average of the 5 habits you repeat most."

- James Clear

"Money plays an important role in life, but it can't be the only filter for how you decide to spend your time. Nobody will ever pay you to go on a date with your spouse or take your kids to the park or grab coffee with your parents."

- James Clear

"One of the most critical skills in life—and yet never taught in school—is choosing where to direct your attention.

After graduation, the valedictorian will often get lapped by “average” people who better invest their time."

- James Clear

"It's generally better to over-communicate.

If you wait to reply because you don't have an answer yet (or because you don't want to share bad news), the other party often ends up making assumptions about what the delayed reply might mean.

Silence frustrates and confuses people. Better to communicate early and often."

- James Clear

"Ambition is when you close the gap between your circumstances and your expectations.

Entitlement is when you expect others to close the gap between your circumstances and your expectations."

- James Clear

"If you want to be rich, then be kind.

It’s hard to create wealth unless you work well with others, and it’s hard to work well with others if you are unlikable.

Even if you can do it without kindness, rich jerks end up poor in friendship. You can buy friends, but not good ones."

- James Clear

"The connective tissue between your failures and your successes is the lessons you learn along the way.

It is only by going through your early attempts (usually failures in some form) that you accumulate the insights, skills, and understanding required for success.

Everything is a lesson. Learn enough lessons and the failures become useful."

- James Clear

"Focus starts with elimination, improves with concentration, and compounds with continuation."

- James Clear

"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."

- James Clear

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