James Clear

James Clear

A collection of posts by James Clear

A collection of 19 posts

Self-ImprovementMar 21, 2014
The Power of Imperfect Starts: How Good Do You Really Need to Be to Get Started?

When you have a goal — whether it’s starting a business or eating healthier or traveling the world — it’s easy to look at someone who is already doing it and then try to reverse engineer their strategy. In some cases, this is really useful. Learning from the experiences of successful people is a great way to accelerate your own learning curve. But it’s equally important to remember that the systems, habits, and strategies that successful people are using today are probably not the same ones th

#wpFeb 11, 2014
What Would Happen If You improved Everything by 1%: The Science of Marginal Gains

In 2010, Dave Brailsford faced a tough job. No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, but as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team), that’s what Brailsford was asked to do. His approach was simple. Brailsford believed in a concept that he referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He explained it as the “1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” His belief was that if you improved every area re

#wpJan 29, 2014
The Habits of Successful People: They Have a Growth Mindset

This is the 5th post in our series discussing The Habits of Successful people, written by James Clear and Joel Gascoigne . You can read them all here. It was my freshman year of high school and our basketball team had started the season with a losing streak. One day at practice, as our team was struggling to find some confidence and get our first win of the season, our coach pulled us together and said somethi

Self-ImprovementJan 20, 2014
10 Years of Silence: How Long It Took Mozart, Picasso and Kobe Bryant to Be Successful

How long does it take to become elite at your craft? And what do the people who master their goals do differently than the rest of us? That’s what John Hayes, a cognitive psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, wanted to know. For decades, Hayes has been investigating the role of effort, practice, and knowledge in top performers. He has studied the most talented creators in history — people like Mozart and Picasso — to determine how long it took them to become world class at their

#wpNov 27, 2013
The Habits of Successful People: They Do The Painful Things First

Before I became an entrepreneur, I went to business school. While studying for my MBA, there was one lesson that I learned which has proved to be useful over and over again in my life. I was sitting in a marketing class and we were discussing ways to design a wonderful customer experience. The goal was not merely to provide decent service, but to delight the customer. Behavioral scientists have discovered that one of the most effective ways to create an enjoyable experience is to stack the pai

Life HackingNov 19, 2013
The power of ignoring mainstream news: Why reading the paper is low quality food for your brain

How much time do you spend consuming information that you have no intention of taking action on or that you don’t care deeply about? For example: the nightly news cycle of local crimes, the endless stream of Facebook and Twitter updates, celebrity gossip, reality TV shows, Buzzfeed articles. The list goes on. In this age of information overload, your life can be filled with irrelevant or unnecessary information in an instant. And here’s the main problem: After a while, these information sour

Self-ImprovementNov 12, 2013
10 Things To Stop Doing Today to Be Happier, Backed by Science

I’m fascinated by the link between the way we live our daily lives and the health and happiness we enjoy. There are choices that you make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to your health and happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically. With that said, here are 10 common mistakes that can prevent you from being happy and healthy, and the science to back them up. When the Buffer team explored the science of happiness before on this blog, the int

Self-ImprovementNov 8, 2013
The case for having no goals in your life: Why it might lead to more success and happiness

We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives — getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on. And for most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. At least, this is how I approached my life until recently. I would set goals for classes I took, for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym, and for clients I wanted in my business. What I

Self-ImprovementOct 23, 2013
If You Commit to Nothing, You’ll Be Distracted by Everything: Lessons from the “Marathon Monks”

In the northeastern hills outside Kyoto, Japan there is a mountain known as Mount Hiei. That mountain is littered with unmarked graves. Those graves mark the final resting place of the Tendai Buddhist monks who have failed to complete a quest known as the Kaihogyo. What is this quest that kills so many of the monks? And what can you and I learn from it? Keep reading and I’ll tell you. The Marathon Monks The Tendai monks believe that enlightenment can be achieved during your current life, but

Self-ImprovementOct 17, 2013
The Myth of Passion and Motivation: How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals

We all have goals and dreams, but it can be difficult to stick with them. Each week, I hear from people who say things like, “I start with good intentions, but I can’t seem to maintain my consistency for a long period of time.” Or, they will say, “I struggle with mental endurance. I get started but I can’t seem to follow through and stay focused for very long.” Don’t worry. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. For example, I’ll start one project, work on it for a little bit, then lose

Life HackingOct 9, 2013
Handling Criticism: How to Deal with People Judging You and Your Work

It doesn’t matter how you choose to live your life — whether you build a business or work a corporate job; have children or choose not to have children; travel the world or live in the same town all of your life; go to the gym 5 times a week or sit on the couch every night — whatever you do, someone will judge you for it. For one reason or another, someone will find a reason to project their insecurities, their negativity, and their fears onto you and your life, and you’ll have to deal with it.

#wpSep 25, 2013
The Habits of Successful People: They Start Before They Feel Ready

In 1966, a dyslexic sixteen-year-old boy dropped out of school. With the help of a friend, he started a magazine for students and made money by selling advertisements to local businesses. With only a little bit of money to get started, he ran the operation out of the crypt inside a local church. Four years later, he was looking for ways to grow his small magazine and started selling mail order records to the students who bought the magazine. The records sold well enough that he built his first

#wpAug 27, 2013
How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “2-Minute Rule”

Recently, I’ve been following a simple rule that is helping me crush procrastination and making it easier for me to stick to good habits at the same time. I want to share it with you today so that you can try it out and see how it works in your life. The best part? It’s a simple strategy that couldn’t be easier to use. Here’s what you need to know to stop procrastinating once and for all… How to Stop Procrastinating With the “2–Minute Rule” I call this little strategy the “2–Minute Rule” and

Life HackingAug 20, 2013
A Simple Guide to Better Focus and Concentration: Lessons From a Lion Tamer

Over a century ago, a lion tamer named Clyde Beatty learned a lesson that is so important that it impacts nearly every area your life today. What was that lesson? Keep reading to find out what a lion tamer can teach you about how to focus, concentrate better, and live a healthier life. The Lion Tamer Who Survived Clyde Beatty was born in Bainbridge, Ohio in 1903. When he was a teenager, he left home to join the circus and landed a job as a cage cleaner. In the years that followed, Beatty quic

Life HackingAug 2, 2013
Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals

Change is hard. You’ve probably noticed that. We all want to become better people — stronger and healthier, more creative and more skilled, a better friend or family member. But even if we get really inspired and start doing things better, it’s tough to actually stick to new behaviors. It’s more likely that this time next year you’ll be doing the same thing than performing a new habit with ease. Why is that? And is there anything you can do to make change easier? How to Be Good at Rememberin

Life HackingJul 26, 2013
How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the Seinfeld Strategy

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedians of all‐time. He is regarded as one of the “Top 100 Comedians of All–Time” by Comedy Central. He was also the co–creator and co–writer of Seinfeld, the long–running sitcom which has received numerous awards and was claimed to have the “Top TV Episode of All–Time” as rated by TV Guide. According to Forbes magazine, Seinfeld reached his peak in earnings when he made $267 million dollars in 1998. (Yes, that was in one year. No, that’s not a ty

#wpJul 17, 2013
You’ve Got 25,000 Mornings as an Adult: 8 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

You’ll wake up for about 25,000 mornings in your adult life, give or take a few. According to a report from the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old. Most people in wealthy nations are hovering around the 80–year mark. Women in Japan are the highest, with an average life expectancy of 86 years. If we use these average life expectancy numbers and assume that your adult life starts at 18 years old, then you’ve got about 68 years as an adult.

Self-ImprovementJul 3, 2013
The Mistake Smart People Make: Being In Motion vs. Taking Action

There is a common mistake that often happens to smart people — in many cases, without you ever realizing it. The mistake has to do with the difference between being in motion and taking action. They sound similar, but they’re not the same. Here’s the deal… Motion vs Action Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result. Here are some examples… * If I outline 20 i

Life HackingMar 28, 2013
A Scientific Guide to Saying “No”: How to Avoid Temptation and Distraction

Learning how to say no is one of the most useful skills you can develop I found, especially when it comes to living a more productive and healthy life . Saying no to unnecessary commitments can give you the time you need to recover and rejuvenate. Saying no to daily distractions can give you the space you need to focus on what is important to you. And saying no to temptation can help you stay on track and achieve y