Book Lesson 04- Atomic Habits

On Amazon- Atomic Habits by James Clear

“Habits are the compound interest of self improvement”

Why Should you read this? AH

  • To learn practical techniques of how to foster a good habit and get rid of bad habits.
  • To understand the power of a small habit that can give you compounded positive or negative return in the long run.
  • Why habits matter a lot, but are one of the most overlook aspects of life?
  • To understand the process and stages involved in building a good habit and breaking a bad habit.

Key  Takeaways!

  • Habit Math: Well you might have seen this before but it’s magical to see how compounding effects of habits work:

(1.01)^365 = 37.78   Vs.   (0.99)^365 = 0.03

So, if we improve ourselves by 1% every day for one year we are better off by 37.78% at the end of the year. On the other hand, if we get worse off by 1% every day for one year, we decline down to nearly zero. So, this explains the power of good and bad habits.

  • It’s System Driven: Fostering a good habit needs strong systems, processes or rituals because we do not rise to the level of our goals but we fall to the level of our systems. So, rather than just focusing on goals we want to achieve, we should also focus on the systems we want to build to achieve the goal.
  • Change your Identity: Changing habits need changing your identity. So, we should not focus on what we want to achieve but on what we wish to become through our new habits. Our identity is the result of our habits, so we should see habits as the part of our identity.  Image result for habit loop james clear
  • The Habit Loop: We can understand habits has a four step process, where each of the step leads to other and finally work as a loop which becomes stronger as the number of loops increases. The cue and craving are part of the problem phase of the habit whereas response and reward are the part of solution phase of the habit. You can read here how this whole system works.
  • Dopamine the Driver: Our cravings are dopamine driven. Our brain has far more neural circuitry allocated for wanting (anticipation of reward/ pleasure) than liking (actually feeling the pleasure). So, our desire drives our behavior. So, we need to make our habits desirable and attractive.
  • Excellence needs more: To achieve excellence in any field we need more than just habits. That additional ingredient is deliberate practice where we are aware what we are doing unlike auto-pilot mode for the habits:

Habits + Deliberate practice = Mastery

  • Your Cheat Sheet: Finally, to get a quick look on the different steps suggested for fostering good habits and breaking bad habits, A Habit Cheat Sheet is available on the book’s website.

Life- Finite or Infinite game?

Is life a finite or an Infinite game?

Does your approach towards life depend on whether you see it as a finite or an Infinite game?

In Game theory, there are two types of games: Finite and Infinite. Finite games are played with fixed set of rules and the objective is to win. Infinite game doesn’t have any definite rules as such and the main objective is to perpetuate the game.

Most of us see life as a finite game wherein we want to win this game by chasing fame and money. In search of happiness and fulfillment, we are always on a hedonic treadmill. This approach towards life never makes us feel calm and peaceful but always anxious for our new goals. For someone in college, getting a high paying job is the next big thing. For someone in job, getting a promotion is the next big thing. For someone having his/her own business, getting the first or next round of funding is the next big thing.

So, the question is whether the things we do are wrong or whether our approach is wrong? If there is any problem with the way, we see our life? If our sole purpose should be to hop from one goal to another OR there is a bigger picture to it?

It’s surprising to see, how everything changes once we start seeing life as an infinite game. Since, the main objective of the infinite game is to perpetuate the game. So, we are not competing with others but working on continuing the game which can only be being a better player of this game. Being a better player demands continuous improvement. Continuous improvement makes us more adaptable to this game of life.

As per Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is one that is most adaptable to the change.Image result for adaptable

So, infinite players are adaptable and improving continuously. For them every day of improvement is a win which keeps them going. Infinite player doesn’t need to wait for years to achieve something, but they are achieving daily with every step of positive improvement. Infinite players are not obsessed about their competition but continuous improvement.

In conclusion, Life is an infinite game and the way we feel about our life changes the moment we start seeing it as an Infinite game. The objective is to perpetuate the game by enhancing our life skills over a period of time which will make us a better player of the game of life.

Remember – “Life as an infinite game is about chasing excellence whereas Life as a finite game is about chasing Success.” When you chase excellence, success eventually follows.

Image result for excellence success quote