Ep. 006: James Clear

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By 2PM Inc. and Web Smith. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

James Clear's Atomic Habits is on my book wall. But I'll be honest, it was there long before I read it. Clear sent a copy in the early fall of 2018, weeks before the October release. At that point, I hadn't known much about him. What I did know is that, like me, he is an Ohio guy. He's an athlete. And he has insatiable curiosity. I should have read the book much sooner than I did. It took everyone else reading it for me to fully grasp how important his work is for professionals like you and me.

When I finished it in December 2019, it was just three days after I opened to page one. There was one paragraph that really caught my eyes. And from then on, I zoomed through. From page 34:

Brailsford had been hired to put British Cycling on a new trajectory. What made him different from previous coaches was his relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.

This particular lesson was on the effects of compounding improvement, especially the infantismile ones. Clear's life is made of these moments and so are ours. Like many of you, Clear values the pursuit of deep generalism and optimizing the abilities, influence, and opportunities that you possess.

But James doesn't merely report the research of others. He tries out the concepts for himself as he experiments with building better habits as an entrepreneur, writer, and weightlifter. In the end, his talks end up being one-part storytelling, one-part academic research, and one-part personal experiment, forming a colorful blend of inspirational stories, academic science, and hard-earned wisdom. [1]

I am proud to have hosted him. Clear is a friend and I'd even call him a mentor. You will be better for listening to this one hour episode.


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