Aggregation of marginal gains

I’m a fan of James Clear’s work. I read almost every post that he puts out (twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays) and have gifted his latest book Atomic Habits half a dozen times to some of my close friends already. 

While going through my YouTube feeds last night, I bumped into this keynote James delivered at one of ConvertKit’s conference early this year. It’s a great summation of what his latest book is about — perfect for both who’ve read his work and the ones who haven’t. 

1% Better Every Day – James Clear at ConvertKit Craft + Commerce 2017

Two key aspects that I’ve learned from James from the keynote above and the books are: 

  1. Optimize for the starting line, not the finish line — most of us are obsessed over the end result. That’s the reason why we have a goal in mind before we even set out to work on the first steps. And that’s when things begin to change and it becomes a little too overwhelming. You don’t know where to start or how to go about it or worse, aren’t even sure if it was the right goal to begin with! The alternative is to set a goal, lay down the road map, and focus on the very first step. That’s it! Once done, go for the second one, then the third one, so on and so forth. 
  2. Never miss twice: don’t make the same mistake, again — alright, I might be an exception to this rule but I sure know it’s a powerful one. Most people new to habits are sensitive to ‘falling off the wagon,’ which makes sticking to the schedule an important aspect over the long-term. Over a period of time, they end up building a chain after which their focus shifts from sticking to the schedule to not breaking the chain. Because if they don’t break the chain, sticking to the schedule will take care of itself. That said, if they do happen to break the chain (for any reason), they will have to work hard to not break it again as doing so would impact their sense of confidence and lower the chances of making the habit stick for the long-term.  

If you would like to explore deeper, check out Brian Johnson’s Philosopher Notes on Atomic Habits. It’ll be the best 15 minutes you’ll spend on building new habits this year.

PNTV: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Now, go build your habits and change your life!

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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