The Wisdom of Atomic Habits - Advanced Tactics
We Made a Thing! Yay 😅 | Wisdom Letter #79
Hello and Welcome to The Wisdom Project. Your weekly dose of human-curated wisdom in a world full of algorithmic noise.
We closed last week, with the 4th Law of behavior change.
Today, we take a look at some “Advanced Tactics” from the phenomenal book Atomic Habits.
And we are announcing something cool we made, but that’s for later.
For now, Read On.
The Truth About Talent
“Genes don’t determine your destiny, they determine your areas of opportunity”
Where do you stand on the whole “talent vs hard-work” debate?
Like it or not, we are all born with certain traits that work well in some scenarios and not so much in others.
Tiger Woods is not as good as a swimmer as Michael Phelps, the same way that Michael Phelps isn’t as good as a Golfer as Woods.
Both have seen tremendous success because they embraced the natural advantage their genes gave them.
They have built systems and habits around their natural abilities and maximized their genetic advantage.
Habits are easier to perform, and more satisfying to stick with, when they align with your natural inclination and abilities.
If Phelps and Woods had switched careers, it’s unlikely they would have seen such success in their lives. And it won’t be because of lack of effort.
The takeaway from this is that you should build habits that work for your personality, not the habits that are more popular.
If you can’t run, don’t force yourself into it, try something else that’s equally healthy for your body.
“Genes don’t eliminate the need for hard-work. They clarify it. They tell us what to work hard on.”
The Goldilocks Rule: How to stay motivated
“Not too Hard, Not too Easy, Just Right”
The Goldilocks rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities.
Not too Hard, Not too Easy, Just Right.
If something is too hard, you will give up soon, and if something is too easy, you will get bored with it soo.
We want tasks just a bit beyond our abilities so that we feel challenged as well as excited about solving them. And once we complete a task, we feel a sense of growth as well.
When working on such tasks we often lose track of time and space, we are in the zone, in a state of Flow. — That’s the peak of the human experience.
The pursuit of happiness is about continuously finding ways to remain in the Goldilocks zone for as much of our lives as possible.
“Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly”
The Downside of Creating Habits
“The upside of habits is that we can do things without thinking. The downside of habits is that you get used to doing things a certain way and stop paying attention to little errors.”
Habits are a necessary part of mastering something, but they are not enough.
In fact, with time, habits can become a limiting factor to our growth. If we tie up our identity too much into our habits then we are shackling ourselves in our own identity.
As we said so many times before, Habit Change = Identity Change.
But after you build good habits, change your identity, beware of getting stuck in this new identity, you want to be flexible to be able to grow.
You must challenge yourself, go beyond your comfort zone, that is the only way to grow.
“Keep your identity small.
The more you let a single belief define you, the less capable you are of adapting when life challenges you.”
The Secrets to Results that Last
The holy grail of Habit change is not a single 1 percent improvement, but a thousand of them. It’s a bunch of Atomic Habits stacking up, each one a fundamental unit of the overall system.
“The secret to getting results that last is to never stop making improvements. It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop”
Every week, we write a post, edit it, send it out, gather feedback, look at the numbers, review and find our mistakes. We lookout for ways to be 1 percent better the next week, and the next, and the next.
If you read our writing on a week-by-week basis, you might not see much difference, but over the last 79 weeks, we ourselves can feel a significant improvement in our writing muscle.
And that is our biggest lesson from this wonderful book.
Small Habits, don’t add up, they compound.
That’s the power of atomic habits. Tiny changes, Remarkable results.
Some Personal News
Last week we talked about putting together some resources for our readers to better apply the lessons from Atomic Habits. We talked about it on Twitter as well and set up a pre-sell page on Gumroad, to check if people would be interested.
(Gumroad is this cool platform where indie creators can sell their digital products)
To our surprise and much delight, we got a few pre-orders for the product within the first 24 hours!
We had sales even before a finished product!😲
We were elated by the orders, for the first day we were just refreshing the sales page every 5 minutes.
But then it started to dawn on us, the immense responsibility we had, to live up to these expectations.
A lot of people have shown a lot of faith in us, and we must not disappoint them.
So all of last week, we spent hours and hours making stuff, and then more hours stressing whether it will be good enough or not.
The good thing with the preset release date is that now we must send it out today, there is no scope to delay it, no scope to “perfect” it a little more.
It must go out Today.
As Seth Godin says: Define the Spec, Meet the Spec, and Ship.
Ship good work.
And he defines good work as the one that meets the spec.
Not “perfect”, not “good enough”, but work that meets the spec.
We had defined the spec last week, and we are shipping it today.
So here it is, we made 2 things:
We compiled the past 5 Wisdom Letters into a beautiful 40 page PDF. It condenses the best insights, quotes, visualizations from the 300-page book Atomic Habits. You can get it for Free —> The Wisdom of Atomic Habits
This will be free, forever.
All our future subscribers will get it in our welcome mail from now on.
We made a toolkit of the 10 best tools described in the book and compiled them into a PDF, an excel sheet, and a Notion template.
You can buy us a coffee and grab the toolkit here —> The Toolkit for Atomic Habits
Prices are likely to go up next week.
We have been told to charge more for both the products, we are considering it.
Some people say pricing digital products is an art, if you keep it too low the perceived value comes down, but if you keep it too high enough people don’t buy it.
After all, every sale has zero marginal cost to the creator, there is no “hardware” cost to recover on the product.
We want to reach as many people as possible, so the price will never be too high.
But we are still learning pricing, and will fumble our way through it, like most of the things we take up :P.
If anyone of you is an expert, we would love to hear from you and get some help. Reply to this mail or DM us on Twitter.
Hope you like what we made, if you do, consider leaving a review, it will help us reach more people.
Thanks for reading🙏
Next week, we talk about a topic we have been wrestling with for some time now — Knowledge vs Wisdom, and we reflect on why we decided to read fewer books this year.
So let’s meet then, next weekend. In your inbox!
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ICYMI 👉 The Wisdom of Atomic Habits (Part 4) | Wisdom Letter #78
This Week Last Year 👉 The Last Among Equals | Wisdom Letter #27 | The One About Women
Hope you liked today’s post, if there are any improvements we can make, do let us know by replying to this.
We love listening to feedback.
This was Wisdom Letter #79. In case you want to revisit any of the previous 78 letters, check out our entire archive.
Aditi & Ayush