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7 - Environment and habits - James Clear on Building Habits in the Right Areas, Importance of Environment, and Gateway Habits.

James speaks about how environment plays such a critical part in the building and breaking of habits. He speaks about how we can increase the friction in the negative habits that we want to get rid of and decrease the resistance in the positive habits we are trying to create. This is all the more important in the context of how we relate to our digital devices where it is easy for us to go down a rabbit hole very quickly.

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James speaks about how he got injured as a player and had to focus on small wins that eventually put him on a path of recovery and regaining of fitness. He goes on to talk about how he got curious about habits from a consumer behavior stand-point in the context of the business he had started. He speaks about how those two came together and led to him becoming a bridge between academic research and practical application.
 • 05m:06s • 
James speaks about the criticality of us understanding our genes and personality (the deck of cards we are dealt with) and ensuring that we play a game that’s conducive to our natural wiring rather than get to a canvas which requires us to deviate significantly from what comes to us as second nature. He also speaks about the explore-exploit trade-off in the way we could think about going broad versus going narrow in a certain area.
 • 09m:46s • 
James speaks about how we sometimes get crippled or limited by the identity we carry about ourselves. He makes the case for a smaller identity for us to evaluate new possibilities and walk down new pathways and reinvent ourselves.
 • 11m:49s • 
James speaks about the shape of the compounding curve and speaks about how we should think about motivating ourselves to persist despite no visible progress in the lower parts of the curve where the outcomes are not apparent. He specifically talks about the notion of the plateau of latent potential where suddenly the cumulative efforts bear fruit in a dramatic fashion. He speaks about the kind of feedback loops we need to set for ourselves and the markers that will help us chip away at foothills of the compounding curve.
 • 13m:46s • 
‘You don’t rise to the level of your goals but you fall to the level of your systems’, says James Clear. He speaks about the fact that goal setting has not found to be a differentiator between performers and non-performers. While Goals give you the broad direction in which you need to swim, systems provide the momentum you need to progress in that direction.
 • 06m:33s • 
A lot of our habits are often subconscious. How do we ensure that we don’t become a slave of our habits but really perform our habits with awareness. In one of my earlier conversations, Devdutt Pattanaik contrasted the Indian emphasis on awareness with the western emphasis on habits. James speaks about the Japanese system of pointing and calling and uses that example to talk about how we can perform our habits with awareness.
 • 07m:04s • 
James speaks about how environment plays such a critical part in the building and breaking of habits. He speaks about how we can increase the friction in the negative habits that we want to get rid of and decrease the resistance in the positive habits we are trying to create. This is all the more important in the context of how we relate to our digital devices where it is easy for us to go down a rabbit hole very quickly.
 • 07m:01s • 
James speaks about the notion of a gateway habit which helps us establish the habit before we start expanding on it or optimizing it. He speaks about the criticality of us mastering the art of showing up before we start obsessing about the fine tuning of the habit.
 • 04m:03s • 

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