James Clear Newsletter


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3-2-1: How to approach life, and how to succeed as a writer

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | NOVEMBER 11, 2021

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,

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

3 Ideas From Me

I.

“It’s better to be alone than to spend time with toxic people.

It’s better to do nothing than to work on something that doesn’t matter.

It’s better to rest than to climb the wrong mountain.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


​II.

“Mental toughness immediately increases when you find the right subject. You’re more likely to stick with things when you’re genuinely interested.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


III.

“Every great opportunity has many reasons why it could fail. You have to trust your ability to solve problems along the way.

People who look for reasons why things won’t work, struggle to take action.

People who look for reasons why things will work—and solve problems as they arise—make things happen.”

2 Quotes From Others

I.

The Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi on how to approach life:

“To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor.”

Source: Zhuangzi


​II.

Journalist and author Derek Thompson on how to succeed as a writer in the modern world:

INTERVIEWER: “What advice do you give to a recent college grad who comes up to you and says I’m interested in journalism and writing books?”

THOMPSON: “…there is a paradox to scale, I think. People who want to be big sometimes think, “I have to immediately reach the largest possible audience.” But in a weird way, the best way to produce things that take off is to produce small things. To become a small expert. To become the best person on the internet at understanding the application of Medicaid to minority children, or something like that.

And the reason why I think this is true I call my Tokyo example. If you go to Tokyo, you’ll see there are all sorts of really, really strange shops. There’ll be a shop that’s only 1970’s vinyl and like, 1980’s whisky or something. And that doesn’t make any sense if it’s a shop in a Des Moines suburb, right? In a Des Moines suburb, to exist, you have to be Subway. You have to hit the mass-market immediately.

But in Tokyo, where there’s 30-40 million people within a train ride of a city, then your market is 40 million. And within that 40 million, sure, there’s a couple thousand people who love 1970’s music and 1980’s whisky. The Internet is Tokyo. The Internet allows you to be niche at scale.

Niche at scale is something that I think young people should aspire to.”

Source: Masters in Business

1 Question For You

What is a small thing that bugs me, but I haven’t taken the time to fix? Can I fix it today?