Thoughts and Ideas from James Clear’s 3–2–1 newsletter

I have subscribed to James Clear’s 3–2–1 in August 2020, When I was reading his best-selling book Atomic Habits. This book helps me a lot, Thanks to James Clear. I highly recommend you if you don’t read this, read it. It will change your life like mine. In this newsletter, he sends an email every Thursday with 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question. This newsletter is worthy of his book. It is full of wisdom, a practical guide to changing lives, and a meaningful question to ask us. Every Thursday I wait for this mail when it will arrive and when I will read. Now I will share from his newsletter which words resonate with me.


  • “If you work, inspiration will come. If you wait, inspiration will too.”
  • “Don’t write to sound smart. Write to be useful. If you are useful over a long period, you will end up looking smart anyway ”
  • “It’s better to do less than you hoped than nothing at all. No zero days.”
  • “Don’t spend what you haven’t earned.
    Avoid financial debt. Don’t spend money you haven’t earned.
    Avoid social debt. Don’t spend goodwill you haven’t earned.
    Avoid calendar debt. Don’t spend (free) time you haven’t earned.
    The disciplined earner can be a guilt-free spender.”
  • “The difference between motion and action.
    -talk to a personal trainer
    -research your book idea
    -explore different types of meditation
    -do 10 squats
    -write 1 sentence
    -meditate for 1 minute
    Motion feels like progress. Action is progress.”
  • “When feedback is immediate, clear, and concrete, people learn quickly. When feedback is delayed, abstract, and opaque, people rarely learn”
  • “Step 1: Know exactly what you want. Have a big vision that is crystal clear. Step 2: Know exactly what is true. See reality for what it is and accept the honest facts of the situation. Step 3: Be flexible in the way you close the gap between 1 and 2. Bold. Rational. Adaptable.”
  • “A few things you need to achieve exceptional results: 1) Quantity: You take lots of shots. 2) Quality: You take thoughtful shots. 3) Consistency: You keep shooting for a long time. 4) Feedback: You take better shots over time. 5) Luck: You get a few favorable bounces.”
  • “In the long-run, the people who succeed are the ones who want to live the lifestyle that precedes the results.
    Stop asking, “What results do I want to have?”
    Start asking, “What lifestyle do I want to live?”
    It’s common to want results. It’s rare to want the lifestyle.”
  • “Build before you have to.
    – Build knowledge before you have to.
    – Build strength before you have to.
    – Build an emergency fund before you have to.
    Let internal pressure drive you today, so you can handle external pressure tomorrow.”
  • “Vision is the bottleneck of talent. Most talent is wasted because people do not clearly know what they want. It’s not a lack of effort, but a lack of direction. There are many capable people in the world, but relatively few that focus on what matters.”
  • “It’s crazy how 1,000 people can compliment you and you’ll spend all day thinking about the one person who criticized you.”
  • “Most people think they lack motivation when they really lack clarity.”
  • “Feel compliments as deeply as you feel insults.”
  • “Success is largely the failures you avoid.
    Health is the injuries you don’t sustain.
    Wealth is the purchases you don’t make.
    Happiness is the object you don’t desire.
    Peace of mind is the argument you don’t engage in.
    Avoid the bad to protect the good.”
  • “Working on a problem reduces the fear of it.
    It’s hard to fear a problem when you are making progress on it — even if progress is imperfect and slow.
    Action relieves anxiety.”
  • “Go smaller
    Can’t learn an exercise? Reduce the range of motion.
    Struggling to grasp a new concept? Break it down.
    Failing to stick with a habit? Make it easy.
    Master stage one, then advance.”
  • “Do the most important thing first each day and you’ll never have an unproductive day.”
  • “Lack of confidence kills more dreams than lack of ability.
    Talent matters — especially at elite levels — but people talk themselves out of giving their best effort long before talent becomes the limiting factor.
    You’re capable of more than you know. Don’t be your own bottleneck.”
  • “Entrepreneur’s mind.
    Athlete’s body.
    Artist’s soul.”
  • “Read books that are relevant to what you want to achieve and reading will never seem boring.”
  • “The fastest way to improve is to learn from others.
    - Read good books
    - Talk to people who have done it
    - Soak up the lessons of the past
    Learn from the experiment's history has already run and you can start the race halfway finished.”
  • “Be radically proactive about any behavior that pays off in 10 years.”
  • “To simplify before you understand the details is ignorance.
    To simplify after you understand the details is genius.”
  • “A 5-step process for nearly anything:
    1) Explore widely. Find out what is possible.
    2) Test cheaply. Run small, quick experiments. Sample things.
    3) Edit ruthlessly. Focus on the best. Cut everything else
    4) Repeat what works. Don’t quit on a good idea.
    5) Return to 1.”
  • “Be “selectively ignorant.”
    Ignore topics that drain your attention.
    Unfollow people that drain your energy.
    Abandon projects that drain your time.
    Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgeable you can be.”
  • “Reading can teach you the best of what others already know.
    Reflection can teach you the best of what only you can know.”
  • “The math of success…
    Results = (Hard Work*Time)^Strategy
    Working hard is important, but working on the right thing is more important. A great strategy can deliver exponential results.
    Of course, the best strategy is worth nothing if you never get to work. Zero to the millionth power is still zero.”


  • “There are so many people who don’t know what they want. And I think that, in this world, that’s the only thing you have to know — exactly what you want.” (Anges Martin)
  • “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you pick up after a crushing defeat and go in to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.” (Wilma Rudolph)
  • “You could try to pound your head against the wall and think of original ideas or you can cheat by reading them in books.” (Patrick Collison)
  • “…one day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job. I gave him details, examples of what troubled me, yet although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No “Oh, you poor little thing.
    Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it. In any case, he put down his cup of coffee and said, “Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.
    That was what he said. This was what I heard:
    1. Whatever the work is, do it well — not for the boss but for yourself.
    2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
    3. Your real life is with us, your family.
    4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.
    I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted, and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labor to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of the home.” (Toni Morrison)
  • “Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.​” (Alfred North Whitehead)
  • “An expert is a person who has found out by painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.” (Niels Bohr)
  • “Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” (Kenichi Ohmae)
  • “I’ve learned one thing: you only really get to know a person after a fight. Only then can you judge their true character!” (Anne Frank)
  • “I used to resent obstacles along the path, thinking, ‘If only that hadn’t happened life would be so good.’ Then I suddenly realized, life is the obstacles. There is no underlying path.” (Janna Levin)
  • “When you experience someone else’s genius work, a little part of you feels, ‘That’s what I could have, would have, and should have done!’
    Someone else did it. You didn’t. They fought the resistance. You gave in to distractions. They made it top priority. You said you’d get to it someday. They took the time. You meant to.
    When this happens, you can take it two ways: You could let that part of you give up. ‘Oh well. Now I don’t need to make that anymore.’ Or you could do something about that jealous pain. Shut off your phone, kill the distractions, make it top priority, and spend the time.
    It takes many hours to make what you want to make. The hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort.” (Derek Sivers)
  • “I always say that I’ll go first…
    That means if I’m checking out at the store, I’ll say hello first.
    If I’m coming across somebody and make eye contact, I’ll smile first.
    [I wish] people would experiment with that in their life a little bit. Be first, because — not all times, but most times — it comes in your favor.”(Gabby Reece)
  • “The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and a thousand other things well.” (Hugh Walpole)
  • “I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me.” (Viola Davis)
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”​ (Anais Nin)
  • “This is the true joy in life:
    being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one;
    being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
    I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
    I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” (George Bernard Shaw)


  • Am I being effective or just busy?
  • What am I holding on to that I need to let go of?
  • What is your personal compounding advantage in your career?
  • What is one thing you can accomplish today that would make this day a success?
  • What are the 1–2 things that if you get them done today, you’ll go to bed content?
  • Is there a better way? Is there a kinder way?
  • If you keep living the way you are, what will your life look like in 20 years?
  • Who brings out your best qualities? Can you take five minutes right now to schedule time with them?
  • What are the important problems in your field? And if you’re not working on them, why not?
  • What am I reinforcing each day?
  • Where do I have healthy momentum right now? Where do I have unhealthy momentum?
  • What is the little bit of extra work that has a huge upside?
  • Who can I collaborate with to make this easier?

I hope by reading this you get the idea of how important it is. You can find every newsletter here. It is up to you, you want to subscribe to it or not. If you want here is the link, you can subscribe. Also, you can follow him on Twitter.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your time.



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