Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results with James Clear
James Clear, Chase Jarvis
Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results with James Clear
James Clear, Chase Jarvis
1. Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results with James Clear
Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results with James Clear
had everybody. What's up? It's chase. Welcome to another. So the Chase Travis Live show here on Creativelive. You don't know the show. This is where I sit down with the world's top creators, entrepreneurs and thought leaders. And I do everything I can to unpack their brains with the goal of helping you live your dreams and career and hobby and in life, my guest today, before we get into it, is someone who is going to help you change your life. I don't mean that in a sort of software. I mean, uh, Mr James, Clear is the man about town around habits and how to change your behavior to achieve those dreams that you have for your career and your hobby in life. But before I introduce James, I wanna welcome you to wherever you're coming in from. We are live today. So I see people coming in from I got five or six different countries. Now I gotta Colombia there. Is that right? I think now I gotta anteed France. We've got South Africa is always here. Australia. Um so if I say we got a global audi...
ence tuning in, and if you do want to ask questions. I want you to know that I see those questions in any of the social networks that you're following on were streaming to a bunch of different platforms. The best experience, however, is at creative live dot com slash tv. That's where I see your questions and comments first and can feed them to James. So again, tell me again where you're coming in from. And I'm happy to introduce some of the most popular questions to James throughout the course of the next hour and let me introduce James. He's a writer and speaker focused on habits, decision making and continuous improvement. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits. My copy is right here. Before we started broadcasting, I was sharing with James, and it kind of looks like it's been drug behind my car for about a year, because I've taken this book on so maney road trips and countless plane flights, and it's set up my night stand for probably a good six months where I tapped into it, uh, nightly or every other night. It's because it's an amazing book. It has helped me change my life, and I believe it will help you change yours. His work has appeared in Entrepreneur magazine, Time magazine in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, blah, blah, blah. And I'm more than a million of these things are out there in the world and for good reason. So please, uh, tap on your desk. Your keys. Raise the roof for our guest today, Mr James. Clear. James, welcome to the show. But hey, good to talk to you. Thanks for having me. I'm excited because I have been living with your work for some time and eso putting ah face with the name and with all of the words that I've read over and over and over brings me a lot of joy. And as I mentioned, we do have a global audience, so I'm gonna do the best. I can't afford some questions, but before we do to set a little bit of context What? I understand we have ah, bunch in common former athletes who find performance something valuable to apply to life. Um, I'm curious. Give me the back story. Like where you from? What's the the your I guess. Yeah. Your back story And how you turned into you know, athlete turned writer, as that's something, that ambition of yours. We have creators and entrepreneurs all around the world listening. And your journey from as early as you want to start would be a helpful context, etcetera. Sure, Yeah. I'll give you the quick origin story. Um, I was born raised in Hamilton, Ohio. Um, had kind of two main things that played a big role in my childhood. One was sports and athletics like you mentioned, Um, my dad played professional baseball. He played in the minor leagues for the ST Louis Cardinals. And so, growing up, I wanted to be a baseball player to, of course, um, and played a variety of things. Basketball, swimming. I played one year football. But in football there, people who are getting hit and people who are giving hits. And I was always getting hit so that one didn't last long. Skill player. Um, but so athletics played a big role in my childhood. The other big thing was with school. I always loved learning. Um, I enjoy going to school. I kind of hung out with, um like the nerdy crowd in fifth grade. I was in this little group a couple friends of mine. We made, like, this little mini robotics club, which was the most generous way to put it. Basically, we just played with Legos. Um, but one of those guys ended up going to m I t. And actually majoring in robotics. Um, but I think the punchline, actually, from all that is I was hanging around a lot of kids who were better athletes than me. And I was hanging around a lot of kids who were smarter than me. And I think both of those ended up serving me really well, um, I felt like I could have a foot in both groups and kind of get along with with each crew. And, uh, I was always being pushed. You know, I was always, um, trying toe keep up, Thio the guys who were ahead of me. So that was that was a big part of my childhood, both of those elements. And they ended up playing a big role in my story. I won't go into all of it here, but I talk about in the introduction of the book. I ended up suffering a serious baseball injury when I was in high school. I was hit in the face of the baseball bat and, you know, I had to be air care to the hospital. I was placed on a ventilator, couldn't drive a car for the next nine months, and the recovery from that injury was very slow and painful and arduous, and all I wanted to do was get back on the baseball field. But my return to baseball was not smooth it all. I got cut from the team the next year, barely got to play the year after that. I was ableto kind of weasel my way onto a college team, and it was really and this is why I start the book off with it. It was really the first time in my life when I was forced to really start small. I couldn't. I couldn't just flip a switch and go back to the young, healthy person I was before, and so that was kind of my first introduction. The habits That was my first introduction to some of the concepts. I didn't have a language for it, you know, I wouldn't have described it as saying I'm getting 1% better each day, but I was building habits on the baseball field. I was building them in the classroom. I was going to bed at the same hour each night, and they were all small things, you know, they seemed sort of insignificant dimension. Um, but collectively, they gave me a sense of control over my life again. And ultimately, I ended up having a good career, is a baseball player. And, uh, and after that, I found myself writing about habits and researching it, and that's kind of led me to ultimately publishing atomic habits and writing a James clear dot com and all the stuff that I kind of do today. Well, we're gonna try and cover not all but most of that stuff. I'm curious about this little gap where you realized, you know, you mentioned starting small and that you had to start small out of necessity. But when did you realize that what starting small was was habits? Because to me, that's that's an insight like, Okay, s. So all I can do is get good sleep right now because I'm injured recovering from this trauma, and tomorrow I'm going to do is eat good. And the next day, I'm gonna walk, you know, 100 yards in the next day, I'm gonna walk a mile. And when did you realize when did you connect those small behaviors with habits and then habits as something that are actually foundation from which to change everything? Well, you know, like I said, I didn't have a language for it at the time, so I think, quite honestly, part of it was luck. Like I had good role models, you know, like my parents had pretty good habits or my teammates. Or, you know, I had a coach, you know, things like that. So, um, some of it was that some of it, honestly, I stumbled into, um, anybody who plays a college sport can tell you that habits are a big part of what they dio, right. You're practicing the same drills each day. You're like showing up to practice at the same time you have this preparation for, like, a pregame routine, and so some of it, I sort of soaked up there without being intentional about it. And then, um, physical therapy also played a big role. You know, you got to keep going, showing up each day and doing the exercises. And so I think that, um, I didn't necessarily make the leap in my own mind. Oh, a small change means building a small habit, but I did make it in practice. In other words, I couldn't verbalize it at the time, but I was doing it. And I think one of the most motivating feelings to the human mind is the feeling of progress. If you're making progress, you have every reason in the world to keep doing what you're doing. And so showing up to those physical therapy sessions or practicing the same drills or, you know, studying for a little bit. Once I start to get even small signals of progress, like my first physical therapy session. I was practicing basic motor patterns like walking in a straight line. But even when you get just a little bit of progress, that's very motivating and can keep you on track. And so I think that although I didn't have a good way to phrase it at the time, I was just looking for ways to get 1% better each day. I was looking for ways to have some small margin of improvement that I could use a foothold and some stability and then take that little step and use that to advance to the next level the day after that. So it started much Maura's practice and less is like theory or discussion. And it was only later when I started writing about the experience and the topic of habits in general that I started to develop a better language for it. It's a fascinating experiment to understand the role of language plays in our ability to, um, to take action and to share ideas. And, um, I'm curious, is the You're developing a vocabulary with it around this stuff was that helpful in helping you progress more quickly? I heard you say that I was doing the doing the work and didn't have ah framework for it. But now, when you were able to put a framework around, it did that. Did that accelerate the changes that you were able to make because you were cognizant it came with intention and awareness? Or was that a byproduct? Well, it is interesting. There's, I mean, anybody who's, you know, practiced anything there's for you, for example, is probably a lot about photography. That's very implicit that you were able to soak up and do. And once you make it explicit, once you can explain it. I suppose there is an internal benefit, which is You can probably troubleshoot better because you can explain what the problem is or what area of the process you're. You're lacking on where the gap is that and so that allows you to probably solve problems better. But I think really the benefit of making it explicit. The benefit of having a good way to describe it is actually better for teaching rather than for learning. Um, it helps it spread to somebody else. It helps you have a shared language that you can, you know, share between you and describe what's going on. So I think describing it actually became much more important as I wrote about it and built in audience and worked on the book that then it became important to be able to explain things clearly, um, you can learn an awful lot about how to shoot a free throw just by shooting a lot of free throws. Um, even if you can't explain exactly what's going on with your elbow or your wrist or your eyes or whatever. Um, so yeah, there's a little bit of both, but I do think it probably helps with in terms of identifying problem areas and getting feedback in trouble, shooting some of those things that you need to rectify. Thank you. So you mentioned learning and effort and 1% better. These have been, you know, even in the last, like, you know, 60 seconds, 90 seconds. You said those words a couple times and I'm curious. And I think I'm trying to represent the folks all over the world who are listening and watching right now as they identify as creators or entrepreneurs, Or it's almost a self selected group of they want to change. I'm wondering how important is the desire for change, And the the fact that you're curious or interested are dare I use the word passionate about the area that you're moving into as a vehicle for, uh, extra fuel Or or, I mean, I think we can all understand, like if you have a bad habit and you want to break it, there's actually a positive on the other side, which is you want to be healthy or you want to so How important is passion for the subject? What role does that play in changing behavior and seeing behavior as the catalyst for change in your life? Yeah, well, the short answer is it's very important. Let me kind of give ah little bit of a longer answer in this way. So I in the book, I divide a habit into four different stages, and I think if you understand those four stages, you understand, like what I have it is and how it works. But you also understand where you can intervene like where you could make some changes toe make more practical change so real quick, just from a high level overview. Those four stages air que craving response and reward Que craving response reward. So what you're talking about having some kind of desire. That's what I would say is in that second stage it's in that craving bucket, so it would just have a couple examples like the queue is something that gets your attention. So you know, you're driving down the road. You here in ambulance, you hear the siren behind you. That's an auditory cue that starts the habit of pulling to the side of the road or you see a plate of cookies on the counter. That's a visual cue that starts the habit of eating a cookie. Okay, so the queue gets your attention. It's something you notice. But the next thing that happens is your brain makes an interpretation. It makes a prediction about what that Q means. So you know, if you see the plate of cookies, the next thing that might happen, you may not do this consciously necessarily, but it's happening at some level you're predicting. Oh, those will be sweet, sugary, tasty, enjoyable. And it's actually that favorable prediction about what a cookie means that motivates you to take action, walkover. Take a bite and then you get That's the response. The third step, and then you get the reward. Oh, it is, in fact, sweet, sugary, enjoyable. Okay, let's rewind back to that second stage that point that you just mentioned. So we're all experiencing all types of stimuli and opportunities and experiences throughout life every day. And the person who sees something who sees that Q. Whether it's watching this video with you or reading a book or browsing social media and coming across the next tweet. Those stimuli all have the potential to be cues that could prompt us to act in some way. But they only become that if you interpret it in a certain way, if you assign a certain meaning to it. And that's where I think what you're talking about with passion or curiosity or, you know, interest, motivation. That's where that comes into play toe. One person seeing a basketball on the ground is a cue that doesn't really mean anything. They just walked right by it to someone who's passionate or curious about basketball. That same que causes them to pick it up and start practicing, dribbling or taking shots or whatever. And so the meaning that you have signed to the experiences around you shapes the response that you take. So in that way, I think passion and curiosity play a big role. And I think, you know, curiosity is one that I'm particularly interested in because from what I can tell, um, the person who improves in the end is almost always curious. In the beginning, um, it's very hard to almost. There are all kinds of opportunities that surround us to improve each day and largely identifying them boils down to. Are you curious enough to notice? Are you curious enough to investigate it? Are you curious enough to dig one layer deeper? And if you are, there's all kinds of chances for you to get something better out of the experiences that surround you. Eso curiosity, I think, is a really big part of that. Yeah, to me, I don't You know, e here so many people say the words out loud, like I want to be great at fill in the blank. And then I just naturally asked why. And I find that often the people who struggle to make progress, the reason that they want to be great at something is mostly because they saw it on a cereal box or in their social media feeds, and that I find that that's s so you know where I immediately go to to try and help this person is like, you need to find something that you actually care about and caring about having a nice car or caring about getting to live in a fancy house or have a lifestyle where you don't actually have to sit down or report to anybody or whatever. Just because it sounds good is not actually enough motivation or in your, you know, in your language to create a response. A Someone who actually wants to improve starts off is curious. They might just Maybe they are curious about what it be like to not have to report to a boss or be able to live in a place they wanna live. But there seems to me to be this gap of vacuum between the people who are serious about taking at action and changing their habits and the people who just sort of sign post. And I'm trying to, you know, be curious to use your word about that gap. You know, I like the word fascinate. I like to say, you know, sometimes people would be like, Oh, you should write about what you know, But I don't know that that's actually true. I think you should probably right about what fascinates you. Because if you're fascinated with it, you're curious about it. You're gonna dig into it, you'll learn it at some point, right? Like I early on in my writing career, Um, I kind of had this, you know, Imposter syndrome, sort of thing. I was like, Who am I to write about this stuff? And And I had a friend who told me, Well, the way you become an expert is by writing about it every week, and I sort of internalized that idea like you just need to put your reps in And I think that's particularly important in any creative process. Um, particularly early on, Once you've developed your voice or honed your skills or, you know, like, become more established, then maybe you can pick and choose a little better. But I think getting those reps in early on is really crucial, and it's really hard to put the reps in if you're not fascinated by it. And so I think that that plays a big role. The other thing to your point, which I think is a really good point that you brought up about a lot of the time we inherit our desires from society or from the people around us. We just see what's on social media or see what other people are doing, and so we kind of want to replicate that and a lot of ways, humans or imitation machines, and it makes sense like we imitate the way to eat and swallow food when we're a baby or when we become a teenager, we imitate stopping at red lights and stopping at stop signs and like, ah, lot of those things help us and serve us in daily life. But you have to be careful to not just imitate your whole life. You know Thio, especially the biggest choices about where you live or who you marry or what you work on thes air choices that require careful thought. And, uh, I've been doing this exercise recently, the last couple weeks, where I'll start each day by opening a page in the journal and writing at the top of it. What do I really want? And it's surprising to me how much or how beneficial, answering the same question each day can be, because over the course of a few days, your answers start to get more precise things that you thought you wanted. You realize Oh, actually, it's maybe a layer deeper than that, or I thought I needed to do this, but actually that's a middle step, and I could cut all that out and just go straight to the thing that I actually want. And I think most people, myself included a lot of the time, don't actually know what they want. They sort of know what they want. They, you know, like everybody kind of wants to be healthy or to be, you know, to have low stress or toe, you know, find love or what? But to be precise about what you want, I don't know that many people have good answers to that. And the more precise you are about it, the better equipped you are to make those choices and to get straight to the point of what matters. But that requires a lot of self awareness. So it's kind of interesting. You know, you started by asking, What are you passionate about? What do you fascinated with what you're curious with about? But ultimately a lot of that comes down to knowing yourself well, and you have to spend time thinking about that and kind of wrestling with what is actually important to me. So I feel like I feel like a lot of people again, myself included, Would be would find it valuable to spend more time with those questions and kind of wrestle with them because it helps inform all the actions that air downstream from that. I love that answer. I think that is like I've been doing this for a long time, and that is a laser like and answering the same question every day and being able to get more precise, like I am adopting that immediately. Um, in my book, I talk about there's a creative process for anything and or for your life and the first step. It's a academics idea in the first one is imagined, and I've found now talking about the book for a year, that that is the area where people struggle the most to get toe, actually get clear on what it is, what you're imagining for yourself, because A we've lost largely lost our imagination, were just trained out of us right through the school system and through what our parents and career counselors and the people around us really want. And I want to get to that in a second. So I'm gonna put a pin in that. But this idea of what's possible with the life you're taking a cue like, Oh, what's possible is I'm required to stop it stop signs. Well, what if you could, you know, go around, stop signs or go over them or, you know, how would that change the way you think about it? And this concept of answering the same question is a mechanism for refining. That to me is I'm taking that immediately. If you don't mind e mean tomorrow morning. That is what I'm writing. I usually find just to elaborate on that point. I usually find questions to be better than advice. What I mean by that is advice is context dependent. It's like even if you talk to somebody who has really good advice, to give its dependent on the situation in the circumstances that they have faced or the experiences they've gone through. And even if they give you a good idea that also is dependent on you applying it at that time, you know the world is dynamic. It's not static. It doesn't stay the same. And so advice fades in its usefulness over time. And so in that way, advice is actually kind of brittle, in the sense that even if it's good advice, it's only good for a moment. It's only good for a window and questions, however, questions air very like anti fragile. They're very resilient. Um, you can carry around the same question with you, like, what do I really want? Andi asked that day in and day out. And it can continue to serve you regardless of what circumstance you're facing. A couple other questions that I like one is. Can my current habits carry me to my desired future? And if again, that requires you to know what you want? But, um, if not, if there's a gap between your current habits and your desired future, something needs to change. And it's interesting how often we keep running the same system, the same collection of daily habits day in, day out and hope that somehow something will change. Um, but you have to have those two aligned. So you know another example that I like is what would a healthy person dio I have a reader of mine who she ended up losing over £100 and that was the question that helped her do it. She just carried that question around with her toe. All these different circumstances in life, I'm deciding what to order for lunch. What would a healthy person do. I'll order that. I'm deciding todo it's right time to go to my next meeting. Do I take a cab or do I walk five blocks? What would a healthy person dio? And so she's just able to use that again and again. And so I like questions. For that reason, they're very flexible and useful. Well, Charlene from Park City A stuff from Nigeria and Britt from Norway. There is a lot of all caps being typed in a lot of thank you, Uh, makes me feel like we're off to a good start. I do want to take a question from Instagram Live, and it's It's seemingly simple on the surface, which is why you've written a book that sold a million copies, but it's complex underneath it, and it is. Why is it so hard to cultivate new habits? Because, in a way, you just mentioned it like we're creatures of habit is, as the saying goes and what we're doing. We do that thing over and over because it's what we're comfortable with, what we know. And yet, you know, like the idea of doing something different, it seems novel and motivating but we just slide right into it again. I want to know. And And Captain Morgan, 83 wants to know why is it so damn hard to shift gears to cultivate your habits? So let me answer this question in two ways. So the first way is maybe more tactical or something. But what's what's interesting is think about think about all the habits that are actually not hard at all to build. Like for example, take the habit of checking your phone like most of us don't even remember how long it took to get into the habit of checking our phones. Maybe took a day or two or three like it was almost a soon as we got them. We started checking them constantly, and I think that that's very interesting to look at. And you can say, Well, how how come, like, why is it that we so readily pick up certain behaviors like that? And, um, I expand on all this more in the book, but I want to just focus on one point right now, which is, um, pretty much every behavior in life produces multiple outcomes across time. So, broadly speaking, there's like an immediate outcome. And there's an ultimate outcome and for many habits that stick naturally, which are often bad habits, um, the immediate outcome is often favorable. Like the immediate outcome of eating a doughnut is great. It's sweet and sugary. It's tasty. It's enjoyable. It's only the ultimate outcome that is unfavorable, or even like smoking a cigarette. The immediate outcomes. Smoking a cigarette might be that you get to socialize with friends outside the office or you curb your nicotine craving. It's only the ultimate outcome. Two or five or 10 years later. That's unfavorable. With good habits, though, the habits that air, as you said in this question, so hard to build the immediate outcome is often kind of unfavorable. Like, What's the immediate outcome of, say, going to the gym for the first week? Your body, your body looks the same, right? The scale hasn't changed anything. Your little sore, um, pain or getting up early on time and just you feel groggy and terrible and there's Yeah, there's all these trade offs, and, um, it's only the ultimate outcome. Two or three or four years later that your body is actually started to change and have these noticeable impacts. And so what I'm describing here is there's this gap between immediate rewards and delayed rewards, this gap between the immediate outcome and the ultimate outcome, and the habits and behaviors that tend to stick readily and kind of easily. They tend to serve us in a really immediate fashion, even if they don't serve us in the long term. So if you're wondering, why do I stick to my bad habits? It's often because it has an immediate benefit, even if it has an ultimate cost. And if you're wondering, why is it so hard to stick to good habits? It's often because it has an immediate cost and we can't get through that, or it's challenging to get through that, to get to the long term benefit. So the way that I like to summarize it is the cost of your good habits is in the present. The cost of your bad habits is in the future and s so I think that's one of the kind of central reasons why it's hard for us to build good habits and stick to them. All right, so I'm being a little long winded here. That's No, I'm loving it. This is so that Do not do not edit at all. Keep going. So the second reason that I think habits are hard to build comes down to what I consider to be the ultimate reason why habits are important. Um, we often talk about habits as being the pathway to external success, like they will help you lose weight or make more money, or reduce stress or be more productive. And it's true. Habits can help you do all that, which is great. But I think the real reason that habits matter is that they can reshape your identity. They can reshape your sense of self or give you a different narrative to tell yourself. And it's hard for habits to stick if you change the behavior. But don't change the underlying identity if you don't change the way that you look at yourself. And so um, ultimately, what I think this comes down to if I'm just trying to get to the punch line, every action you take is like a vote for the type of person you want to become. And so no writing. One sentence does not finish the novel, but it does cast a vote for I'm a writer and no doing one push up does not transform your body. But it does cast a vote for the type of person who doesn't miss workouts. And the more that you repeat little habits, the more that you start to build up votes. You build up evidence of being that kind of person. And, you know, if you do one or two or three times, maybe it doesn't mean a whole lot. But if you keep doing it eventually you build up enough votes. That kind of the way to the scales shifts and you start to actually think, Yeah, maybe that is the kind of person that I am And, um, ultimately true behavior changes. Really identity change, like the goal, is not to read a book. The goal is to become a reader. The goal is not to run a marathon. The goal is to become a runner. You know the goal is not toe do a silent meditation retreats to become a meditator. And once you start to assign those identities to yourself and look at yourself in that way, you're not even really pursuing behavior change anymore. You're just acting in alignment with the type of person that you see yourself to be. So I think if you really want to get a habit to stick, my suggestion is to start with what I call an identity based habit to start by saying, Okay, who is the type of person I want to become? And then which habits reinforced that identity and focus there rather than worrying too much about the result? Early on? I that there's so much wisdom cooked into that. Don't don't There's no more editing. Please. There's always the long answer, that is, that is a thing of beauty. Um, Martin Howard chimes in from Facebook like I'm reading your book right now. Multiple exclamation points. Um thank you, Martin. Yeah, he's very He's fired up. Um, Pachulia wants to know from, uh, where is this YouTube live? The sequencing of habits seems to be hard. And how do we decide which habits to work on first, let's take a big a bigger goal. I know you're You have said, you know, lots throughout the book here, but Onley touched on it briefly so far in our conversation. So for the benefits and listeners like having small things be, you know, steps to big changes in your life. That's that is something that you profess throughout the pages, your book and your newsletter. I don't know if I'm a Julia. Where to start. What's the first habit, that ideo, and is it better to do one habit or another in order to save time? And maybe that's where the self awareness thing comes in. But let's just answer the question on the nose here, like what's first? What habit do we do first? And then maybe, how can we work on, you know, more more habits at the same time after that? Yeah, so you know, obviously the answer is a little bit different for each person, so it's hard to say exactly. But I do broadly think that we can start by focusing on one of two buckets and what I return. Call these buckets either habits of focus or habits of energy. So if you talk about habits of energy, that's kind of the base of the pyramid. If we're talking about like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, so getting enough sleep, you know, being fairly active or having some kind of exercise eating fairly well. Um, those are things that if you don't have that stuff figured out, it's kind of hard to show up. Is your best self each day. It's kind of hard to have the capacity Thio do the other stuff. Now, if you do feel like you have that stuff, kind of, you know, at least reasonably dialed in, then maybe we shift the habits of focus, and this could take a lot of different forms. But let me just give a couple examples of how I do it. So, um, one habit of focus that I've been using recently is I've done this for the last year or so. I leave my phone in another room until lunch each day, and, you know, it's a small habit. It doesn't seem like very much, but I'm like everybody else. If I have my phone right next to me, I'll check it every three minutes, right. But if I have a home office and so if I leave it in a different room, I never go and get it, even though it's only 30 seconds away. And that's always surprising to me because it's like, well, did I want it or not. You know, like in one sense. I wanted it bad enough to check it every three minutes when it was next to me. But in another sense, I never wanted it so bad that I would work 30 seconds to get it. And frustrating. It's surprising how Maney happens to like that, you know, like I've noticed. Um, drinking beer is kind of like that for me, too. If I get a six pack and I put it in the fridge, if I put it in the front of the fridge where I can see it right when I open up the door, I'll grab one every night just because it's there. But if I took it at the bottom of the fridge and put it like, kind of towards the back where I can't really see it, I gotta bend down toe to spot it. Sometimes it will sit there for weeks, and I'll forget that I even bought it. And I got to interject something. James, In your book, you talk about that being apples. So you've literally upgraded from apples to beer. I did it with apples to I, uh I used to buy apples and put him in the crisper at the bottom of the fridge and forget they were there. And then I'd waste them, you know, turn around. Two weeks later, they've gone bad. I'm wasting food and wasting money. So instead, I did the opposite thing, which is I made them or obvious and bought a little display bowl and put him in the center of the counter. And now they're gone, you know, in three days, just cause they're obvious. But, um anyway, so my point there is just that those habits of energy and habits of focus. I think those were good places to start because they kind of prime you for doing the most productive thing. Um, Ultimately, though, I think the answer to this, especially in the beginning, is don't get hung up on finding the perfect habit because it doesn't matter too much as long as you're moving forward as long as you're making progress. Um, And if you continue to do that, you could take the mo mentum from that first habit. Whatever you decide, it should be and channel that into the next change. And ultimately you turn around a year or two later, and you're kind of surprised by the progress you've made. So the most important thing is to get started. Um, it's interesting. A lot of the time we feel like we need to learn more before we can take action. But almost always, the best way to learn is by taking action. So you actually probably need to research less and take action. Mawr. This is something that I referred to in the book is the difference between motion and Action. Ah, lot of the time we're in motion. We're doing things that feel like we're moving, but we're not actually doing things that could deliver a result. So talking to a personal trainer is motion. It doesn't matter how many times you talked to a personal trainer. You're never going to get in shape. But getting under the bar and doing five squats. That's action, because that could actually get the result that you want. And so, at some point, need to do the thing that could get you a result. And I think the earlier you could do that the better, because then you can start learning. Is that what get you? Get you to your £501 squad because I think I read that somewhere, uh, inside joke for those listening. James was a long time athlete and got into weightlifting at some point pretty seriously. There's some serious PR's man. Thank you. I've always loved lifting. It's been fun. And yeah, we'll see eso again. The questions air. I think, um, it must be striking a chord. Or you must be, because now the question is coming in so fast. I can't read them. But Leon wants you to know that atomic habits one of Facebook's of all time, changed your life like David Adventure Justin. Boozy uh, Polo Polo is asking again, We're just clarity in your goals fit into this. Sometimes I find it hard to follow up when I think it's a goal. But then I don't see the results like I'm expecting, ultimately only to revert to a changed goal. So is that something you can comment on? I know this idea of clarity of goals you mentioned earlier. It's like, What do I really want? And getting clear on that helps you short circuit some of these, um, some of the longer paths, but what is it? That's a really good question. I think it ties into measurement a lot as well. So I'll use my dad is an example here. Um, he both my parents like to swim, and one of the challenges of swimming is that your body looks exactly the same when you get out of the water is it does when you jump in. And so there is no evidence that that was worth it, right? Like if they're trying to work towards some long term goal, there's no evidence at all that they're making progress. And this is kind of what you know. They're hinting at in this question here. And so I think what's important is Thio find a form of measurement that you can use for your habit that matches the frequency with which you're doing the habit. So quick Example, Um uh, my dad has this little pocket calendar, and every time he gets done with a swimming, he takes it out, puts an X on that day. And so that's, you know, just a basic form of a habit tracker. And, um, it's a small thing, but it provides a signal of progress. Even though his body didn't change even though he looks the same in the mirror, even though the scale hasn't shifted, he still has that visual signal of the X on the calendar that says You did what you were supposed to do today. You made progress, You built your streak, you showed up again. And, um, you know, I mentioned this earlier. One of the most motivating feelings is the feeling of progress. And so if you have some way to visualize that, that's a good way to keep you on track while you're waiting for those long term rewards to accumulate. And you know this is one of the challenges with habits, and it's, ah, hallmark of any calm, pounding process, which is that the greatest returns air delayed. You know, early on, when you're at the beginning of the that growth curve, you're basically zero. You're showing up day in and day out, and you don't have much to show for it. The the quote that I think of that I mentioned the book that I really like is there's this quote that's hanging in the San Antonio Spurs locker room so they've won five NBA championships. Um, and the quote says whenever I feel like giving up. I think about the stone cutter who takes his hammer and bangs on the rock 100 times without it showing a crack. And then at the 101st blow. It splits in two. And I know that it wasn't the 101st that did it. Put all the 100 that came before, and your habits are very much like that. You know, it's not the last sentence that finishes the novel. It's all the ones that came before. It's not the last workout that makes you fit. It's all the ones that came before. Um, you know, Chase. I'm sure you've had this many times in your life like it's not the last client that you've worked for. That has made you a successful photographer. It's all the reps you put in before that, And, um, so much of the time. That is the case with habits, and so you have to find ways to track your progress and gets visual signals that you're moving forward so that you have a reason to stay on track. That work that you're putting in is not wasted, it's just being stored, and you have to continue to work and show up each day until you break through and kind of all that potential energy is released. But that only happens if you could manage to keep showing up day in and day out. Yeah, not only is it not wasted, it's required. That's the mess. Is most people up right? You don't get thio squat. 501 You know, just from you could do all the visualization you want, but you have to actually be, as you said, storing it or building up. I think that's why I started thinking about like, pretty much it applies to so many things applies to weightlifting, applies to writing, applies to work, you know, whatever. But you could almost think about whatever outcome it is that you want. You could almost map it on a spectrum of repetitions. So, you know, say you wanted to squat £300. Well, maybe you have to put in 10,000 reps before that's possible. And if that's true, the only thing to do that is to start putting in your reps like you can't cheat it. You can't short circuit it, you know, And so the same thing is true, I think with like my email list. If you wanna have an email list of 100,000 people, maybe you need to write 300 articles. And if that's true, then you need to start putting your reps in because that's what it takes. So there's definitely some, you know, there. There's a place for strategy, and there's a place for, you know, thinking through how to do things better and trying to find the high leverage action. But there's also a place for repetitions because even if you have the best strategy in the world, it goes to zero. If you don't put the work in and ultimately that that's required no matter what the process is. I love it. I love it so much and again that I'm trying to pin some of these questions so I can keep up with the demand. I'm gonna hang with me here for a second, cause I'm gonna leave this together. It's a couple of questions, and one of the questions is from on YouTube live from W. L H. Um, says Hey, chase a fun one. How does your ideas about your book creative calling mesh or not? mess with James's ideas of atomic habits. And there's another question, which is from Francis from Jason. Hey, I think you talked about it somewhere. But how does negative self image or mental health impact your ability to change question or to change habits? So the hybrid is all right? Hey, James. In my book, I talk a lot about a little pyramid. At the base of the pyramid is mindset. The next stack up is habits, and then the tip of the pyramid is goals. And so I advocate that you can have habits. But if those habits are founded on weak mental framework, you might be choosing Iran. Habits may be choosing the wrong behaviors. And so there's this underscoring of of mental health and mindset, and you know that really hits directly on on Jason's question. So that is what I interned. Want to ask you, like what role does mental health, mental wellness? And I'll just use the word mindset, play in your ability to ultimately get to the goals and, uh, the life that we want. How does that affect your plan? Your world? Yeah, So I think I generally agree with your framework. It's It reminds me it's kind of similar toe my approach, but I the way that I would phrase it is identity process outcome or like identity habits outcome. And so that's very similar to, you know, habits and goals or kind of process and outcome and mindset and identity kind of overlap. So, um, there are a couple different ways that it can influence things. We've already talked a little bit about how identity and habits connect and how important that is. Um, on the mindset side, ultimately Or I guess I should say, just in a certain sense, changing your habits is really the process of changing your mindset. Um, changing the way that you interpret what different things mean and what actions you take when you're in that context or in that environment. So, um, let me give a quick example. Let's say that you walk into your kitchen and you see a loaf of bread on the counter, and it's like I don't know, 8 a.m. or something. You think, Oh, I should make some toast for breakfast. And so your current mindset, the current way that you interpret what toast or what bread means is though I should make some toast. Then, when you read a new book, let's say it's some diet book that convinces you that you know grain is the devil and carbs are terrible, and you should never touch that again. So then the next day you walk in. The next week, you walk into the same kitchen. You see the same Q C, the same loaf of bread. But now you don't think I should make a piece of toast. Do you think I should throw that out? And so the only thing that's changed their the Q is the same your body is capable of doing. The same action thing that has changed is your mind set. The thing is, has changed, is how you interpret the world around you, and your behavior changes as a result. And so I think there's a definite connection between your mindset and the actions that you take, and we could go even further. I There are all kinds of little mindset shifts that I like, that I like thio try to keep in mind. So like one of them that was particularly relevant to this year, So everybody's kind of locked up because of the pandemic. And they feel like, Oh, you know, it's all it almost feels like, you know, your houses, a prison or something or you're locked in this cage. And I saw someone say, um, it's not a cage, it's a chrysalis, like you're you're not. You're not locked up. You're not, like, you know, locked in there and can't go anywhere. It's like a chrysalis for a butterfly. You're developing your transforming. You're gonna come out of this even better. And I love that little mindset shift, because now the thing that seemed like a weakness is actually a strength. You know, like you're not locked up, you're incubating you're becoming better. Um, same thing is true for and I mentioned this one in the book. We talk about a lot of habits that we have to perform a lot of responsibilities that we have, you know, like have to pick my kids up from school. I have to do this report for work today. I have to go to the gym and work out, and that's fine. Like, that's one way to look at it. But you could also change one word change. Have to to get to and say I get to take my kids to school. I get to do this report for work. I get to go to the gym and that one little mindset shift really changes how you look at it. Suddenly your day, your daily routine is not an obstacle or a burden. It's an opportunity, something to be thankful for. And so little mindset. Shifts like that, I think, could be really meaningful in terms of getting good behaviors to stick and bad behaviors to fade away. And there's certainly a connection between the mindset you carry around with you in the world and the behaviors that follow suit. Yeah, what? But I don't You know what? We're not elaborating here in it, And I've written at length on, I think, embedded in there is people think that they are their mind. And there's this. You know that I am the words or I'm the self talk that happens. And in reality, you change your mind by a series of habits, right? Normally, when a crappy self talk comes in, if you're an athlete, you know this, you know, give the ball the other team. You can't go. I suck. I'm terrible. You say that's not like me. Next time I'm gonna, you know, finish completely passed away. I wanted Thio. You're actually you know, you are not your thoughts. You have the ability to manage your thoughts. This is an Oregon that works for you. If you're at your best, this thing works for you rather than the other way around. And and and so this, You know that that was the reason I wanted to ask it. I think there is a really complex, um uh, narrative that connects those two things. And it's almost like you could say that the you your your minds. It goes both ways. It's like a it's a it's an area that could go either way, right, You're you can use your mind to change your habits, or you can simply start way. If you woke up every morning and you just set your toothbrush, you know, you can actually get to the bathroom without going past your toothbrush. You're gonna brush your teeth every day, you know, so that you like the the the behavior is actually changing. And now you're like, Oh, I'm glad I brushed my teeth every day. It's good for my hygiene. That's a great point. I love toe expand on that a little bit. Well, one I think your point about that's not like me. That's a great mindset shift. You know, it's like, What a great way to respond to a mistake. Not to say I'm flawed or I'm screwed up or I make a mistake or I suck. But rather, um, that's not like me. You know, I'm gonna learn from this and become better, and it just it naturally kind of implicitly in that statement is I learned from my mistakes, you know? So I literally a thing I was given by. I played on a little bit development soccer team, and that was a phrase that we were taught, you know, whatever. A long time ago, but as a useful mechanism for just getting right back. And if you look at the best athletes in the world, you know Russ Wilson, quarterback from my team, the Seattle Seahawks, you know he is. He lives in the present better than any athlete I've ever seen. Like he could throw a pick six and the next. The next throw is a laser. You know, uh, yards downfield pass. And this idea of programming is that's part of what I love about your work. Is the intention behind it. Like that phrase is not accidentally like you locked onto that. I like that phrase chase. It was It's something I've been practicing. It was given to me by a professional mindset coach. And so, you know, you start to get I get excited about what's possible when you just lead with a little bit of intention, which is very literal mentality. Yeah, it's very much, very much organized around that. So So I like that point. Um, the other thing and this is it's funny, you said, Oh, it's like a narrow kind of point in both directions. The way that I describe it is behavior and beliefs are two way street. So what you believe can influence the way you act and the way you act can influence what you believe. But my argument is toe let the behavior lead the way to start by doing one push up or writing one sentence or meditating for one minute or whatever, sending one email and letting that be evidence that in that moment you cannot deny that you were that kind of person, and this is a little bit different than what you often hear. You know when when it's the opposite way, when beliefs lead the way, it's often what we hear. Fake it till you make it, and I don't necessarily have anything wrong with fake it till you make it. It's asking you to believe something positive about yourself. However, it's asking you to believe something positive without having evidence for it. And we have a word for beliefs that don't have evidence. We call that delusion right, Like at some point, your brain doesn't like this mismatch between what you keep telling yourself and what you're actually doing. And I think if you can start with a small habit, if you even again, even if it's very, very small less than a minute you cannot deny that in that moment you were that kind of person. And so by by providing some solid evidence, you have a really strong way of, uh in your language, getting your mind to work for you, you know, eventually shaping those beliefs so that they serve you rather than hinder you. I'm just gonna keep feeding you all the chaos that's in my brain and have you organizes for me, that's very, very useful and helpful. Thank you. And the way I my only other nugget, is all you have to do to be the noun is do the verb. You want to be a writer. All you have to like, the minute that you're actually, you know, moving your fingers over the page with the pen in your hand. You're a writer. You wanna be a photographer. You know, this is grounded very much in your identity concept as well, right? If you you know, if the person says I'm a smoker who is trying to quit, you already see that they're struggling because they identify as a smoker. So let's just change those identity factors to work for us rather than against us. Um, Sandy Adam for Facebook. I've been meaning to buy your book, James, for over a month. Listening to you today just took action and purchased. Ah, Justin. Justin, how do you say your last name? Justin Bonzi purchasing your book right now? Clearly, You know, I don't know how long the book's been out, but there's a fleet of people reporting their purchasing right now. And it's because you've written a classic. And it's a classic about human behavior. Which leads me to my next Siris of questions. And the conversation I wanna have is you have written a book that you could arguably talk about forever, because the pursuit of changing one's behavior that is really what Ah, life is right, that is, we're always trying to change our behavior and to use your I think you said progress early on. So the direct question to you is, haven't you figured it out? Don't you know now the secret to human happiness? And if you've got it all figured out, what is it like to be enlightened, like, What are you working at? And essentially, do you fail or do you struggle like help us understand that you're human as well? You've got the secret. Clearly you can change any behavior. You literally wrote the book. I tell you, it is great. It feels nice to have it all figured out. No, I you know what's funny is writing a book about habits. People kind of assume that, like you have your habits dialed in and perfected. And the truth is my readers and I appears we're all working through this together. And honestly, the only difference I think between like me building a habit and any of my readers working on their habits is that when I stumbled across an inside or learn a lesson or fail and, you know, something comes up from that, I write about it, and I share it publicly like that does basically the only difference. Um, I struggle with all the same things that everybody else struggles with and are about, you know, battle with all the same things where you build a habit and you stick to it for six months or a year, and then it fades away for three months. They're like, Oh, how do I get it back? Um, I will say that the process of writing this has helped me. Um, you know, this comes back to what you mentioned early on in the conversation. It has helped me troubleshoot things a little bit. I can see a little more clearly. Oh, now I kind of know why that habit faded away. And maybe what? You know what changes I need to make? Um but the other answer to this question, I I think I do think this is important is that you're never gonna have it all figured out because life is dynamic and changing. And so the question that I like to ask myself is what season in my in right now, like I like to think about life is kind of this Siris of seasons. And whenever you're season changes, your habits seem to change to match that, to serve you better in whatever you know that particular season is. So, for example, right now, I don't have kids, so I'm kind of been like a career heavy season. But soon I will have kids, and so that will signal a shift in seasons. And that will probably also signal a shift in habits. And so, um, these air topics that you're right, it is kind of the task of a lifetime to work on and continue to revisit and continue to improve. Eso. I don't think that that answer will really change for me over the next 20 or 30 or years. Like hopefully I'll always be focused on improvement and habits, and it's, you know, kind of a shifting target and the circumstances and focal points of life change. And as they dio, my habits will have to change as well. Brilliant. Brilliant. So I'm gonna, um, follow up then is what habits are you currently working on that you're willing to share with us that are maybe the most broadly translatable? What? There may be others, um, master habits, if you know that. Yeah, I think about them is sometimes called like meta habits in the sense that they're sort of above or upstream from from a lot of other things. Yeah, So I would say, you know, some of the big picture ones and these aren't gonna be surprising answers, but I do think their impact on my life has been surprising. Eso uh, you know, writing has been one that has been crucial for me, and I think that it's crucial for most people. Even if your career is not an author, like for me, it seems kind of obvious because you're like, Well, he writes books, of course, needs to write, but actually, writing is the antidote to confusion. It's like how you, um, you know, get your thoughts in order. It's how you figure out that you didn't really know how to explain this or what was going on. And so having some kind of writing or creative process. Actually, I'll even expanded and say I don't think it actually has to be writing. I think it could be a podcast. I think it could be a YouTube show. I think it could be any form of creating media, but it helps sort your thoughts out on DSO. That's been a really big one. The other huge element of this, and I'm sure, chase you have experienced this in many different ways. When you share your work publicly, if you're up for that, if you're interested in that, sharing your work publicly becomes that like a magnet for other like minded people, and it's actually the single best networking strategy available. Networking strategies have almost good ones, have almost nothing to do with going to conferences or cocktail hours or sending cold emails or whatever. It's really just create the kind of work that you're fascinated and excited about and share it with the world and other people who are fascinated and excited with that same thing will come to you, Um and so that's a huge, huge benefit that I've seen from writing. Um, so that's one, Uh, the other one is strength training. I don't think everybody has to train like a body builder. You know, you can pick whatever exercises you want or whatever style you want, but I do think that I would not be an entrepreneur now. Um, last week was officially 10 years for me as an entrepreneur, and I don't think that I would have made it through that decade without consistently exercising. I think the roller coaster ride, the emotional ups and downs of entrepreneurship would have just I just would have been like, It's not worth it. I should just get a regular job. Um, so there have been a lot of days in the last 10 years where I felt like I didn't get anything done. It felt like I was kind of floundering around and work and, you know, not really making any progress. But at least I had a good workout and that let me go to sleep that night and feel like I can show up again tomorrow and give it another try. Um, so those two have probably been the two most crucial ones in my personal life and work. Another one, of course, is reading. And the reason that I feel like reading is a meta habit or a master habit like you phrased is that you can solve your gonna be facing different problems at different times in life, you're gonna have different challenges that you're you're dealing with. But if you have a habit of reading, you can pick up a book to solve almost whatever you're dealing with at the time. If you wanna learn how to make better spaghetti, you can read a book on it. If you wanna learn how to launch a popular website or build a business, you can read a book about it. If you wanna learn how toe you know, like go on a first date and ask somebody out, you can read a book about it like there's there's a book on everything, and so whatever problem you're facing at the time, if you have the habit of reading, you have a good way to solve that. And I'll also say that this is maybe just a little more specific about picking books. A lot of people feel like reading is boring, and I think that's because they were trained into that through school that, like, you know, if you were assigned books, you didn't want to read them. That's certainly how I was. But if you choose books to read that are relevant to what you want to achieve, reading will never seem boring. So just again it comes down to one of my fascinated with one of my curious about read books about that. If it's relevant to what you want to achieve, then you'll be excited to read it. Um, so anyway, those three reading, writing and strength training have been probably the three big ones for me. I love it, and I also love if I think it was a precursor to laying down those discrete 123 But just this idea of sort of community, you said, like writing every day and publishing and sharing your work. Um, I I mentioned earlier that imagine was one of the first pieces in this, like forced to process that I've got an amplify and or that what that's an analogy for community for me is absolutely critical, because if you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Might as well spend your time with people who are interested in the same things you are where you can learn from in form. And there has been a lot of questions that again I haven't been able to unfortunately get to about mo mentum in inertia and all these things. And to me, the community aspect is so, so, so critical. Which leads me to want to ask the question here from Sham Jeff via YouTube live. How to let go of a habit that's enforced by your environment. If leaving isn't an option and I wanna expand that a little bit, just apply to the most most people who are listening or watching. And that is, let's just say this is either physical like a like a space or community, like if you're in a community that doesn't serve you so again. Sham Jeffs question is, how does one let go of habits that are enforced by your environment? I think I know what you're going to say, but I want well, his qualifier of If leaving isn't an option. I would just questions like, Are you a prisoner? Jeff or like, you know, I'm curious what you would you'd say, So I'll shut up. Yeah, well, it's a fascinating point about the influence of environment and whether you, like you said, it's physical or social environment. These the social environment in particular. This is one that I wrote a chapter on it. I think it's chapter nine, Chapter 10, Chapter nine. I have it open, right, Friends on your habits. I literally have it open to that page right now. Yeah. Yeah. And so I knew it was important. I wrote a chapter on it, but that's a topic that, since the book has come out, I think is even mawr important than I realized. And, um, the reason is this social norms and the expectations of the people that you're around, like you said, the average of the five people you spend the most time with, or whatever they influence which habits are attractive to us or not, you know, we all part of we are all part of multiple tribes. You know, the people on this call right now this is a tribe, um, the nation that you live in so being American or being friends for being Australian or whatever. That's a tribe, but it's also true in very small local ways. Like to be a neighbor on your street is a tribe the year part of, and there's a certain set of expectations for what it means. Excuse me for what it means to act there. Um, like, let's say you walk outside on Tuesday night and you see your neighbor mowing their lawn and you think, Oh, I need to mow the lawn and trim the hedges And partially you do that behavior because it feels good to have a clean lawn. But mostly you do it because you don't wanna be judged by the other people in the neighborhood for having the sloppy house, and you may stick to that habit for the next 30 years. We wish we had that level of consistency with a lot of our other habits, and the primary thing driving it is social expectation. And so the point that I'm getting to hear, and I think this is the practical take away is you want to join the groups to join tribes where your desired behavior is the normal behavior because of its normal in that group, It's going to be very desirable for you to stick with its going to be attractive for you to do, because every time you perform the habit, it's like a signal to the people around you that says, Hey, I fit in, I get it I belong. Um, you know, most people belonging is like one of the deepest needs that we all have and most people, if they have to choose between, I get to have the habits that I want. But I'm outcast. I don't fit in. I'm not really part of anything. I'm alone or I have habits that I don't really love. But I get to belong. I'm part of the tribe. Most people will choose belonging over loneliness. The desire to belong overpowers the desire to improve. And ultimately the good news is you don't actually have to choose. It doesn't have to be one or the other. You confined a tribe or create a tribe where your desired behavior is the normal behavior, and I think that that is one of the most powerful ways to get a habit to stick for the long run. If you really want to establish it, you need to develop friendships and ties and community and belonging with other people who that is their norm. And when that's the case, it's going to seem really natural and attractive for you to stick with those behaviors in the long run. I love it. And Sham Jeff, I hope that answers your question. And I hope the concept of leaving not being an option, you know, I don't wanna I don't wanna take this for granted. I just did that. I don't know if you're a prisoner somewhere you're locked in. Like, you know, the hope is that you shift your circumstances such that leaving is an option or that changing your behavior or what? The things that you can change within that structure you do change. Um, just, you know, be careful of the words that you say to yourself for the most important words in the world. So, um, Kelly Graves, just another shout out here is a game changer. Have been listening to inaudible a bunch of times, and I finally just ordered my print copy So again, huh? I'm I feel woefully inadequate to help the community here because there's way too many questions for for us, especially with the time that we've got allowed. Um, so I want to dig in a little bit further on this social aspect because you you talked about it as a the thing that you underestimated when you wrote the book. I've got it open for those curious. It's chapter nine through all the family and friends play page 1 13. We've had a couple of questions about it you you shared early on before we actually went live. That that was the thing that you you you've seen, um, is the context. Is that a good word for it? Like your social context, like environmental context? Is that is that Ah, good word for it. And, you know, in order to make the the concept as biggest possible and how much of that is? Um, is it just make it easier, or is it required in order to make change? Um, okay, So first of all in the terminology, Yeah, I think context is a good word. I use either environment or context, but I think a fun way to define a habit is that it's a behavior that is tied to a particular context. Um, it's ah, repeated action that tends to arise in the same such circumstances. Situations. So context is definitely a good word. Um, as far as is a required or not. Uh, I think the short answer is no, it's not required. Um, you know, I go over four laws of behavior change in the book, and I say, like, you don't have to have all of these things working for you. It is possible to build a habit without them, but the social context of social environment in particular. It's very hard to swim upstream for a long time. You could do it, maybe for a little bit. You might be able to overpower your environment for a week or a day or a month, maybe, but at some point the environment wins. Um, it's kind of like a form of gravity that's just pulling you towards that behavioral center. And if if that center is off from what you want to achieve in the long run is really hard to beat it, I mean, like, I take a physical environment. Example. Um, I have a home office, so if I go down to the kitchen, there's a plate of cookies on the counter. I may not eat him. The first time I go in. I may not eat him the fourth time. I may not eat him the seventh time, but at some point I'm gonna eat him. And, um, you know, the real way to win that battle is to get rid of them, to not have him there, to change the design of the environment. The phrase that I like when thinking about this is structure determines behavior. Structure determines behavior. So let's say that you go back to your house or walk to your apartment. You don't climb in through the window, you walk in through the door. Why do you do that? Because the structure makes that behavior the path of least resistance, right. And in most cases in life, we follow the path of least resistance. Even if we choose not to. In the short run, we tend to do so in the long run. Um, and so Aziz best is possible. You want to design your physical spaces, your social spaces. And I would add to this your digital environments so that the good habits of the path of least resistance um, you know, personal example here when quarantine started, the pandemic was kind of getting going. I wanted to read more. And so I was like, I'm gonna be spending more time at home. I'd like to use it productively. So I bought some of the books on my reading list and sort of sprinkled them around the house. So I've got, you know, four or five next. Me on the desk. Here, have some on the coffee table. Have some next to my bed. And the idea there is to make it obvious and easy to do that make it the path of least resistance structure determines behavior. I also took my phone and I moved all of the apse from the home screen to the second screen. And I took audible when I put it in the home bar so that it was the first thing that I would see when I opened up my phone. These air small choices, right? None of these air going to radically transform your life. But they're all reminders to make the good habit of least resistance. They're all way of ways of designing a structure where that behavior is the more likely action, the more obvious action, the easier action. And, you know, doing these things does not mean you don't need discipline or you don't need grit or willpower. Persistence. You still need those things, but you might as well stack the deck in your favor and have the environment serve you to the best degree possible. So I think that's kind of how I think about those things working together. And I think it applies to physical, digital and social environment. I remember, uh, vaguely remembering an example from the book about Vietnam, where a lot of heroin heroin use happened when soldiers were managing the stress and the availability of the drug was everywhere. And then they came home and it was nowhere, and it wasn't a part of their routine. There were no cookies on the table. There were only books, so their heroin use was able able to curb it, versus someone who had used heroin at home. They go to treatment. They returned home to the same environment and 90% or something. I think the number is return to that use. So there's a really interesting juxtaposition, and I think, yeah, one of the last things I wanna um, dive into here and I'm seeing a lot of questions, and I personally walked in with, you know, wanting to wanting to know this. It's, um, the social aspect. I feel like plays such a huge if in fact we're social animals, right? And if ah human baby is not held, it dies. If a if we do not fit into the tribe, you know, Askew said, You know, indicated in a bunch of other places in the in the conversation that, you know, this is It's really it's a It's a critical piece of this you mentioned digital. Now this idea of digital and with what we're really doing is programming. We're setting ourselves up for these cues and you know what? You want to go with the group that where this is normal behavior, not abnormal behavior. I'm I want to double down on the point you just made with just digital because so much of our lives now is digital, right? It's we, especially during a pandemic where were isolated physically or distanced physically. And you know this tool here. I happen to have your instant page up here, but this is the mechanism for connection So what specific recommendations do you have? You gave a great example of your home screen, but I'm wondering if there's any others that you can give around framing your digital context in order to drive the behaviors and ultimately, the changes that you want to see in your life. Yeah, there's probably two or three things that I've done that I've found helpful. Um, you know, So the first one does have to do with, like, your APP. So like I mentioned, I don't keep any APS on the home screen. I just have the four in the home bar, and I try to make sure that, you know, like the most important stuff is there, and everything else is kind of relegated to another swipe or a deeper and nest nested inside a folder and again, small choices. But they, you know, help make sure that I don't just mindlessly opened my phone and hit Instagram every single time I look at it. So that's one little thing. Um, the second thing is, most of the time that I spent on my phone is often on social media. That's not exactly what everybody does, but a lot of us spend a lot of time there, and social media is interesting because you kind of get to be It's almost like you get to create your own little city and you get to choose who the citizens are, you know, like by who you choose to follow. And I think you should be very careful and methodical about who you let into your city about who you choose. Toe Be part of your information feed, because what happens is that when you're choosing those people, your also choosing the ideas that you get exposed. Thio you're choosing the information flow that you see every day, and almost all of our thoughts are downstream from our environment. And specifically, if you're spending a lot of time in social media, almost all of your thoughts or downstream from who you follow, and so finding a really good list of people and exposing yourself to really beneficial ideas, it can really be. I don't know that I want to call it like a Chico, but it could certainly be, you know, powerful. And so what's surprising, and I don't know that it makes sense for everybody, but for me, I've spent a lot of time dozens of hours. Who knows? Maybe even 100 curating my Twitter feed, and it's incredibly valuable for me now. I find ideas every day. I'm exposed all kinds of interesting and useful things. But it took a long time for the, you know, citizens of that city to be really effective for me. So you're probably gonna need to put what seems like an unreasonable amount of time into curating that selection. But I think if it's something you're going to look at for a now er or to every day, it's probably worth it. Eso that's heavy Curation is another one, and then the third thing that I'll add is, and this is a little bit less about social media, but it impacts it directly. The question that I like is, what do you do when you have nothing to dio? So what do you do when nothing is expected of you? There are all kinds of spaces throughout the day, like you're watching a TV show in a commercial break comes on. You have three minutes or you're standing in line at the store and you have seven minutes before you're going to be done or you're in between meetings and you've got a four minute gap that you're just kind of waiting for the next zoom called a start and all of those little spaces they add up to really meaningful time. And so those air all times when you don't have anything to dio And for most people, what they choose to do is look at their phone. They choose to browse social media, check Instagram one more time or whatever. And what I'm gonna advocate for here is having one default that you that you choose to do whenever you have nothing to dio. So for me right now, it changes over time. But right now my default is if I never know what to dio. I opened. I always have this Google doc open on my on my tab and screen. And if I don't know what to dio, I open that and it's the manuscript for my next book and I start working on it. And maybe I only have time to revise one sentence. But it's the thing that I always do when I have nothing to dio and by having one productive thing that can fill that gap, you will often end up substituting that for what would be screen time or phone time. And it ends up accounting for really meaningful use of time and turns into something much more powerful over the course of a month or three year, a year or whatever. So, um, I think thinking about what that default action is can also it directly impacts social media, even though it's not about that. Incredible. Um, I will never get to all these questions. There's not even a chance. But for those folks who are just tuning in, um, what you've been listening to is a conversation with James Clear and his million selling book Atomic Habits. The fact that you're working on another book is super exciting to everyone listening here, there. Um, they're very enthusiastic. So you've got a lot of, ah, a lot of super fans here. My last question, James, before we dio is is there anything that you are working on that you haven't talked about a lot publicly that you are able to share with us today either, uh, things like the book and can you add a little more context to the book or personally something that is curious that you're curious about an area where you're disproportionally investing. This is my cheat code. If you will thio see around the corner just a little bitter to help the people watching and listening to. So, yeah, I have a bunch of, like, little hobbies and side projects that I find interesting, Um, but one that I think will be relevant to this conversation. And, um, it sort of builds upon what we've been talking about because I think one question that you could have if you do read atomic habits and you get done, you say Okay, great. I, like have some good ideas for building better habits. But one question you could have is which habit should I focus on? Like where? Where should I direct my energy and attention? And I've been thinking a lot about that question recently and about specifically, like, where is the highest and best use of your time? What is it where the high leverage behaviors and so I haven't talked about this very much, but let me just share, like, one or two little things. So, um, usually when people talk about doing a high leverage thing they'll throw around words like leverage or a symmetry, which, in which case, they mean you invest a little bit, but you get a lot out of it. So it's, you know, you put in a little bit of work, but there's a huge upside. And one example of this, I think, you know, is a lot of the time people talk about it with regards to startups and finance and venture capital and stuff like that. But actually, I think it applies to pretty much anything. Take, for example, a teacher. Let's say she's teaching a second grade classroom, and she gives this lesson. But the problem is, as soon as the words come out of her mouth, it's over. The lesson is done. It doesn't keep that work is no longer working for her. But if you took that same class and she recorded the lecture and put it on YouTube now, you know a million people could watch it or it could continue toe work that our could continue to work for her a month from now, a year from now, three years from now and so recorded media, whether it's writing or video or podcast or whatever are very high leverage action in the and I like that question. What is the work that keeps working for me when it's done? And that helps you identify some of those high leverage points in your day things to focus on the other quality that I don't hear people talk about a lot when it comes Thio high leverage or for finding these asymmetric opportunities is what I'll call a long duration. So I wrote this article. It was called The Physics of Productivity, and I took Newton's three Laws and I applied them to productivity and kind of just sort of a playful way. And it did find I posted it on my side a couple years ago. People read it, but it didn't like go viral or anything, and it just sort of sat there in the background for a few years. And about four years later, after I had published it, somebody at The New York Times found it, and they wrote an article and they linked to it. So that's great mentioned New York Times. Pretty cool. Get some traffic back to the site, and then this producer at CBS This morning read the New York Times piece ended up following through toe. My website contacted me. The first time that I was ever on national television was because of that piece. And so actually what happened is the first time I ever got on national TV is because of the block post that I wrote because of that article. And the reason that it was so valuable is because it was the opposite of what, like a lottery ticket, is a lottery ticket. You buy it, and it has a big upside potentially if you win, but it's got a very narrow window in which it's useful. It's only good for that week, and then after that week, it's not valuable anymore. And so doing things that are timeless, doing things that are evergreen, doing things that have a very long duration in which they can pay off for you. It makes it a lot more rational for you to spend the time focusing on that work, because you can afford to put the time and effort into it because it's going to keep working for you for the next 10 years. So I think the punch line of all this is look for high leverage opportunities. Try to focus on things that can be recorded or could continue working for you after they're done and do work in a timeless and evergreen way so that it can continue to work for you, Uh, in the years to come. And I think that if you can keep doing that again and again, it can really pay dividends in the long term. Course your career. Amazing. That is just pure gold and thankful for us and everyone who's listening, watching they can listen and watch this over and over and over. And your books are on the shelf and they're clearly flying off the shelves today. So, um, we've got access, and I'm super excited Thio here what you're working on when you can share the next book topic. And from the universally global everywhere in the world audience, that's timing in. There's a lot of gratitude. Ah, lot of love. Uh, thank you so much for being on this show. You could be a guest here anytime in the next book comes out, we will definitely get you on here. And in the meantime, thank you so much for writing atomic habits and for your newsletter, which, if, um, about personal endorsement here if you like James work. Um, he writes a newsletter called 321 and I can't recommend enough where it's the best place for people to sign up for that. James. Yeah, thank you. Um, you can just go to James clear dot com slash newsletter or just go to James clear dot com and you'll you'll be able to see it right there, but you can sign up for 321 right on the site. So thanks for checking it out. And then any other coordinates on the Internet that you want to send people to on your just James Clear on the insta. Yeah, if If you've enjoyed this talk, I think atomic habits is probably the best place to start, so you know atomic habits dot com. You can check it out there. It's translated into 50 different languages, so all over the world, you can feel free to share with family and friends. If you got people speaking other languages and James clear dot com is the place to go. If you want to check out the newsletter and some of my other work but that's probably best place to start. Sweet. Thanks so much for being on the show, James. Appreciate you and your time and all your work. Awesome. Thanks, Chase. Alright. Signing off to the universe. I hope you have an amazing day and start focusing on the next habit that you want to change that will ultimately lead to you changing your life. Signing off. Thanks, everybody. Mm hmm.
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