James Clear Newsletter

3-2-1 ThursdayNote: You are receiving this email because you subscribed to my weekly 3-2-1 newsletter. Every Thursday, I share 3 ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder. Occasionally, I also send out long-form articles on habits and self-improvement.

3 ideas, 2 quotes, 1 question (November 19, 2020)

“Working to deliver the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”

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Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,

Before we begin: If you’ve been considering grabbing a copy of Atomic Habits, then today is a good day to do it. Amazon just dropped the price again. You can grab it for 45% off right now.

On to the main event. Here are 3 short ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question to ponder this week. I hope you enjoy this issue.



“The feeling of progress is one of the best feelings of all. This is true even when progress is small.”

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“Many people work hard, but few people work on the highest and best thing.

Usually, it takes no more effort to work on high leverage tasks than it does to work on low leverage ones.

It’s just a matter of directing your energy.”

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“Not enough is said about the power of thinking about one topic for a long period of time.

If you revisit a topic continually for a few years, most problems (and many solutions) will occur to you at some point.

Expertise can be the gradual accumulation of many modest insights.”

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The philosopher Balthasar Gracian on friendship:

“To keep is more important than to make friends. Select those that will wear well; if they are new at first, it is some consolation they will become old…

There is no desert like living without friends. Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil. It is the sole remedy against misfortune, the very ventilation of the soul.”

Source: The Art of Worldly Wisdom


Author and writing instructor Natalie Goldberg on how to improve your writing (or anything else):

“In order to improve your writing, you have to practice just like any other sport. But don’t be dutiful and make it into a blind routine. “Yes, I have written an hour today and I wrote an hour yesterday and an hour the day before.” Don’t just put in your time. That is not enough. You have to make great effort. Be willing to put your whole life on the line when you sit down for writing practice. Otherwise you are just mechanically pushing the pen across the page and intermittently looking at the clock to see if your time is up.

Some people hear the rule “Write every day” and do it and don’t improve. They are just being dutiful. That is the way of the Goody Two-shoes. It is a waste of energy because it takes tremendous effort to just follow the rules if your heart isn’t into it. If you find that this is your basic attitude, then stop writing. Stay away from it for a week or a year. Wait until you are hungry to say something, until there is an aching in you to speak. Then come back.”

Source: Writing Down the Bones


What would your closest friend tell you to do?

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Until next week,

James Clear
Author of the million-copy bestseller, Atomic Habits
Creator of the Habit Journal