Summary of James Clear’s Transformative Events
And that’s a wrap! More than 7000 enthusiastic participants attended Growth Faculty’s live events and the livestream with James Clear, author of #1 New York Times bestseller "Atomic Habits."
Packed with energy, the three events across Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney saw James generate a wide-ranging discussion around the power of atomic-sized habits to make huge life improvements. Thousands more watched the livestream of the Sydney event.
Moderator Holly Ransom, speaker, and author of “The Leading Edge,” also enthused the audience with her fresh perspective on James Clear’s concepts.
‘What is the change you wish to make?’ she asked delegates, urging them to share their answers at her follow-up masterclass for Growth Faculty members, Design Your Habits for Success, on October 10.
(NOTE: Until this Friday, September 15, attendees at Atomic Habits - James Clear LIVE events can get $100 off club membership).
Below is a summary of key points from Atomic Habits – James Clear LIVE.
The Power of 1% Incremental Improvements
James Clear told the story of the British cycling team which, under a new coach, pulled out of the doldrums to enjoying a history-making run of success. He says the trick was the new coach’s emphasis on “the aggregation of marginal gains.”
Delegates learned that small, consistent changes compound over time. As James Clear famously says, if you can get 1% better every day, by the end of the year, you will be 37 times better.
“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement,” said James, sharing one of our favourite quotes from Atomic Habits right off the bat. “Time will magnify whatever you feed it. With good habits, time is your friend. With bad habits, time becomes your enemy.”
James says to focus on your current trajectory, not your current results. Bit by bit, if you are on the right trajectory, you will start to see results.
Habit change at this level is so powerful, he says, why don’t more people do it? This brought him to the concept of systems.
The Role of Systems in Achieving Success
James Clear has always been an advocate of focusing on systems rather than goals.
“Setting the goals is the easy part. But it is the systems or behaviours that is what is getting you to the outcome,” he says.
James says 'system' is the collection of daily habits you follow. “Your current habits are perfectly designed to give you your current results.”
The audience heard how setting the right processes and habits can be more instrumental in achieving success than merely setting targets. “Luck and randomness are not under your control but your habits are,” he says.
James added that systems are good for people who want to win repeatedly, and make habits stick. “What we want is both alignment between your goal and your systems.”
4 Levers You can Pull
James says there are 4 levers that help us in the process of learning. The habit loop consists of four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward.
· Cue – the trigger to tell your brain to start the habit
· Craving – the favourable meaning you assign to that habit
· Response – what you’re driven to do
· Reward – what you get from taking that action.
4 Laws of Behaviour Change
These are the drivers that influence your behaviour: Make it obvious, Make it attractive, Make it easy, Make it satisfying. So, whenever you want to change your behaviour, you can simply ask yourself:
· How can I make it obvious? (the cue)
· How can I make it attractive? (the craving)
· How can I make it easy? (the response)
· How can I make it satisfying?” (the reward)
And, it you want to break a habit:
· Make it invisible
· Make it unattractive
· Make it difficult
· Make it unsatisfying (i.e. have a cost/consequence).
A commitment device (that ties consequences to any failure to keep the commitment) can work well. These might include asking a friend to join you in your daily habit (such as going to meetings on time, or going to the gym) or making a public announcement about your commitment to a habit on your social media.
Environment Design for Habit Building
Here delegates learned about the significance of environment design. By rearranging the spaces in which we live and work, we can create surroundings that either facilitate or hinder the development of desired habits. If you want a more collaborative organisation, take a look at how the workplace is set up. See also how Atomic Habits can apply to business.
James says to hold one habit in the back of your mind and walk into a room. Ask yourself, what behaviours are easy here? Obvious here? What is this environment designed to achieve?
Surround yourself with your “tribe” – those who have as their social norms the habits that you wish to adopt. “You want to join tribes where the normal behaviour is the desired behaviour,” says James. If your tribe doesn’t exist, be courageous and start one.
The Two-Minute Rule
James asked the audience to think of a good day. They should ask themselves, “When I’m living a good day what are 2-3 things that tend to be part of that day?” And also, “What is the entry point for that to happen?”
The entry point is the Two-Minute Rule. That is, take any habit and scale it down so it takes two minutes or less.
“Your habit must be established before it can be improved,” says James. “We tend to get ‘all or nothing’ about habits and we don’t give ourselves the permission to show up.”
Often, James says, we don’t start something because we tell ourselves, ‘Oh, I still need to learn more….’ But he says planning can become its own form of procrastination. Later he said that “Procrastination is the substitute for lack of courage.”
So, if you can start a new habit by taking action for two minutes or less, do it. Try habit-tracking (mark an “X” on a calendar for example) to give yourself a visual signal that you show up. This concept of keeping a "streak" of Xs going serves as a gateway to instil larger habits in the long run. If, for any reason, you skip a day, that's okay, says James. Just "never miss twice"!
One of the profound takeaways at Atomic Habits – James Clear LIVE was his concept of identity-based habits. Rather than focusing on what you want to achieve, the emphasis should be on who you wish to become. “I’m the type of person who…….” The more you see this as part of who you are, the more you will fight to maintain the habit.
The audience heard that by changing their self-image and beliefs, they can align their actions more harmoniously with their desired outcomes.
“Every action you take casts a vote for the person you want to become,” says James.
Questions People Should Ask Themselves
To ensure they are focusing on the right habits, he suggests people ask themselves:
· What are my habits optimising for? (i.e. family, career, creativity etc)
· What season am I in right now? (i.e. Career? Dial up your best career habits. Family? Crank up the family-focused habits.
· Can my current habits carry me to my desired future?
James says all of us need to experiment with habits to find the right ones for us. Instead of “try, try, try again” he recommends “try, try, try differently.”
· He also says to choose habits that are genuinely interesting to you. And, even if you only do something for 10 minutes, the important thing is that you do it consistently. “Intensity is a really good story, but consistency gets results,” he says.
Books and Podcasts James Clear Recommends:
James says that pretty much every thought you have is downstream from what you consume. When you choose who to read or follow you are choosing your future thoughts. He suggests that if you want to be more productive, upgrade your “content diet” and you will get better outcomes.
For himself, he curates whom he follows on Twitter. He also recommends the books: The Lessons of History by historians Will Durant and Ariel Durant, and Manual for Living by Epictetus.
James Clear’s Most Important Habits:
James says his most important habits are working out (“I can go bed feeling decent about myself’) and reading and writing (“I read more to be better at writing).
James Clear’s Important Message:
Let behaviour lead the way. Start with one small action.
Ultimate Atomic Habits Learning Experience
In addition to these core principles, attendees had the chance to participate in Q&A segments, and are encouraged to attend live virtual follow-up events 7 Habits to Build Your Ideal Day and Design Your Habits for Success to make the learning experience even more holistic and engaging.
To all those who missed out, Growth Faculty members can watch a replay at On Demand for a limited time. Growth Faculty’s next in-person event is Adam Grant LIVE – Worklife Reimagined. Strong excitement is already building for this event, and tickets in some categories are already sold out.
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