Habits, Identity, and Mental Models with James Clear on the Student Mindset with Brandon Zhang

Check out the Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Habits forge your self-esteem and identity
  • Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become
  • Beliefs without evidence = delusion
  • Think less about partitioning your identities and more about what is the best use of your time right now
  • People who are intellectuals tend to overthink and underact
  • People who are trailblazers tend to act too quickly and not think about whether they’re doing the right thing
  • Anytime your environment changes in a big way, behavior tends to change in a big way
  • Even the very best theories in the world fail under certain conditions
  • The real value of synthesizing ideas is what you provide for people: you’re saving them time, effort, and energy

Intro

James Clear (t: @JamesClear) is the author of Atomic Habits, a number one New York Times Best Seller which has sold over one million copies worldwide. James  has over 800,000 people subscribed to his 3-2-1 newsletter.

The Relationship Between Habit and Identity

  • “Habits matter because they reshape your sense of self and give you evidence of a new identity” – – James Clear
  • Habits forge your self-esteem and identity
  • Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become
  • When you perform a habit, you’re casting a little vote
  • The fake-it-till-you-make-it theory asks you to believe something positive about yourself but without having evidence for it
  • Beliefs without evidence = delusion
  • Beliefs influence the way you act and the way you act influences what you believe about yourself
  • Habits are powerful because they’re repeated – it’s like casting votes every day and eventually that builds up in a meaningful way

 Managing Different Identities

  • Different identities (writer, athlete, entrepreneur or whatever) are all part of you
  • Think less about partitioning your identities and more about what is the highest and best use of your time right now
  • Try James’s two-step process by asking yourself:
    •  1. How do I want to spend my time?
    •  2. How can I pick whatever goal I want to achieve and be the best possible?

Being Future-Oriented

  • Entrepreneurs tend to be ambitious dreamer types but at some point, you have to work backwards from magic and wrestle with reality
  • Be honest about what your skillset is and what resources you have available
  • Then try to bridge the gap between that magical outcome and the current reality
  • Be someone who questions the status quo and is willing to look for a better way to design things
  • Don’t get trapped in theory, looking for a better way to do things but without taking enough action
  • People who are intellectuals tend to overthink and underact
  • People who are ambitious trailblazers tend to act too quickly and not think about if they’re doing the right thing
  • Read, read, read – if you write too much and haven’t stopped to read or get inspiration, you can feel stuck
  • Show content that is native to the platform that you choose

Structure Determines Behavior

  • Structure of the environment determines which behaviors are easy to do with the path of least resistance – like going through a door not a window
  • No single change is going to radically transform your life, but if you make a dozen little choices it becomes easier to do them better, more productive, healthy thing
  • Design your environment so that the habits you say you want to work on are also the ones that are obvious and easy to get to – i.e. books near your bed so you’re able to read more
  • Anytime the environment changes in a big way, behavior tends to change in a big way
  • To optimize a changed environment – i.e. working from home – you probably need to change the design, as well

 Having a Margin of Safety

  • Margin of safety is one of the most important mental models
  • The idea behind a margin of safety is to have a buffer for uncertainty –  i.e. you always fill up your gas tank when it’s half-empty
  • It applies to big life decisions too – i.e. you don’t take out the maximum amount of a mortgage you can afford
  • But most people don’t operate with a margin of safety
  • The ultimate margin of safety is the willingness to work hard
  • A good work ethic is an incredible margin of safety
  • A resilient mindset offers a huge margin of safety against failure because you’re willing to try things and you know that if you fail, you’ll be fine
  • Learn how to design consequential failures into inconsequential experiments, so you can get the upside of the learning but not the downside of a big failure

The Pros and Cons of Theory

  • Even the very best theories in the world fail under certain conditions
  • No model applies to everything – nothing is universally true
  • No matter how good an idea is, it applies in some areas and it doesn’t apply in others
  • The useful theories are the ones that are broadly applicable

James On Writing

  • All creators are a terrible judge of their own work
  • “It’s very hard to step outside the mindset that you had when you created it and to see it with clear eyes. But the more that you can do that, the better it will improve your writing and allow you to step into the shoes of the reader and see that from their perspective” – James Clear
  • When editing, try reading your piece in different ways, (on a screen vs. on paper or with a different font) so that you’re almost looking at it in a new light
  • Engage with different people for feedback because they have different ways of looking at it
  • Read, read, read – if you write too much and haven’t stopped to read or get inspiration, you can feel stuck

The Equal Odds Rule

  • Early on, you need some kind of consistent reps – regular writing – so that you can hone your voice and learn what your style is
  • When you test a variety of topics, you start to discover which ones resonate better with people than others
  • In the process, you build up your audience and your platform
  • “The great thing about the internet is you can get your reps in publicly and start to grow your audience along the way and that positions you really well for the next thing” – James Clear

Standing Out On the Crowded Internet

  • The internet is much more platform-driven now than it was before
  •  Pick the platform that you want to excel on and focus on that- keep it simple
    • An email list is the most important one – it’s very clickable
  • The level of competition on the internet has increased a lot – the bar is higher
  • Reduce the scope so that you can produce something exceptional
  • Regardless of what your project is, put in the effort -that’s how you stand out
  • It’s key to make content that is native to the platform that you choose

 Two Forms of Innovation

  • 1. Creation – creating something out of thin air
  • 2. Synthesis – synthesizing already established ideas that haven’t been previously connected
  • James reads widely then takes ideas previously unconnected and connects them in a way that is useful
  • The real value of synthesis is what you’re providing for people: you’re saving them time, effort, and energy
Uncategorized : , , , , ,
Notes By EWerbitsky

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks