James Clear Newsletter

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3-2-1: Playing to your strengths, cultivating a beginner’s mindset, and the power of hope

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | APRIL 21, 2022

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday!

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

3 Ideas From Me


“In school, you are graded on every test—even if it’s your weakest subject.

In life, you can choose the tests you take—even if they always play to your strengths.

Maintain a baseline so your weak areas don’t hold you back, but design your life so you are graded on your strengths.”


“One roadblock almost never ruins you.

There might not be 1000 ways to accomplish something, but there is almost always more than one way.

Know what you want. Be flexible about how to get there.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


“The gift of a beginner is fresh eyes.

The longer you’re in a field, the harder it is to perceive new truths. Your mind is biased toward refining what you’re already doing instead of exploring fresh terrain.

Take your expertise and apply it to something new.”

(Share this on Twitter)​

2 Quotes From Others


Holocaust survivor and teacher, Helen Fagin, on the power of hope:

“There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts.”

Source: A Velocity of Being


John Gall, a physician and author, on the importance of enhancing what already works rather than starting from scratch:

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”

Source: Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail

1 Question For You

What’s one decision you can make today that will save you from making ten more decisions in the future? Make the choice that eliminates other choices.

(Share this question on Twitter)

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3-2-1: Playing to your strengths, cultivating a beginner’s mindset, and the power of hope

Until next week,

James ClearAuthor of the #1 worldwide bestseller, Atomic HabitsCreator of the Habit Journal

p.s. Tax day.