3-2-1: How to ask for what you want, the mistake creators make, and letting go

sent by JAMES CLEAR   |   FEBRUARY 8, 2024



“The more things you have, the more things you have to manage.

Simplicity isn’t merely cheaper, it’s easier.”

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“Always ask, but never expect.

Always ask for what you want. Many people are happy to help—if the request is direct and specific. In a surprising number of cases, something remarkable is possible if you have the courage to ask.

Never expect people to say yes. Everyone is busy and balancing multiple priorities. Your request is not their responsibility. When you’re told no, move on lightly and freely. The world is full of opportunity.”


“Stop paying so much attention to what everyone else is doing and run your own race. How much time is spent reading other people’s posts on social media, watching other people’s exploits in the news, listening to other people’s ideas on podcasts? Go have coffee with a friend. Go make something. Go outside. All those hours spent looking at someone else’s life on a screen could be used to take action in your own life.”



Elementary school teacher and author Bruce Coville on love:

“Nothing you love is lost. Not really. Things, people—they always go away, sooner or later. You can’t hold them, any more than you can hold moonlight. But if they’ve touched you, if they’re inside you, then they’re still yours. The only things you ever really have are the ones you hold inside your heart.”

Source: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (my thanks to MAF for sharing)


Entrepreneur and investor Paul Graham on the common mistake made by entrepreneurs (and anyone hoping to make something new):

“What you will get wrong is that you will not pay enough attention to your users.

You will make up some idea in your own head that you will call your “vision”, and you will spend a lot of time thinking about your vision. In a cafe. By yourself. And build some elaborate thing without going and talking to users, because that’s doing sales, which is a pain in the ass, and they might say no.

You will not ship fast enough because you’re embarrassed to ship something unfinished, and you don’t want to face the likely feedback that you will get from shipping. You will shrink from contact with the real world, contact with your users. That’s the mistake you will make.”

Source: A Conversation with Paul Graham (lightly edited for clarity)


Which responsibilities, relationships, or projects have been weighing heavily on me and can I give myself permission to let one of them go right now?

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Until next week,

James Clear
Author of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker

p.s. The best kind of sleep.

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