The Art of Seduction

The Art of Seduction

Key Insights

Seduction isn’t all about sex. It’s a psychological game that can aid people in persuading others.

Seduction can help people acquire power and reach success. We have seen this in many historical cases such as the lives of Cleopatra and Napoleon.

And today, seduction is everywhere from marketing to politics to the music industry.

To properly seduce people you need to be able to easily connect with people and you need charisma.

“When our emotions are engaged, we often have trouble seeing things as they are.” - Robert Greene

In Robert Greene’s, “The Art of Seduction” you will learn how to identify your seductive character type, how to properly seduce your target, and how to deal with the consequential aftereffects.

Key Points

  • Learn Your Seductive Character Type

Everyone has something that makes them unique. And because of that, everyone has something that makes them naturally seductive. To utilize it, you must identify what it is.

Greene identifies nine character types in his book: sirens, rakes, ideal lovers, dandies, naturals, coquettes, charmers, charismatics, and stars.

  • Sirens

Sirens are the confident, extremely sexual, alluring women that everyone dreams about. The image of the siren promises pleasurable touch and physical intimacy.

Sirens often wear very elaborate and unique clothing while they walk around with confidence.

The power of the siren is on an uprise because most men currently live in an environment where their desires are sheltered. Men who crave risk and adventure are drawn to the confident power of this type of woman.

Cleopatra was a famous siren. She ruled with bold energy, had an exotic physical look, and extreme passion. Cleopatra, with her siren powers, convinced Julius Caesar to stay in Egypt longer than he had intended to, while his city of Rome was suffering.

After Caesar, Cleopatra seduced Mark Antony. Tales today are still told about this historic scandalous love affair.

  • Rakes

Rakes are characterized as rebellious men who have a tendency to be a little wild and crazy.

Rakes make the ones around them feel desired through big gestures and actions of affection.

Don Juan is a historic example of a rake. This Spanish seducer was known for his daring and passionate actions toward women. And since he had a ‘bad boy’ reputation, the women found him even more desirable.

  • Ideal Lovers

Ideal lovers give their partners a unique version of romance. An ideal lover is like a fantasy come to life. There are no strings attached, so the complications of a long-term relationship are non-existent.

If you are an ideal lover, then it is important to focus on others to find what they are missing in their lives in order to seduce them properly.

Casanova is a historical example of an ideal lover. He would study a woman, find out what was missing, and then provide it for her no matter how much effort it took.

No matter what the woman wanted from conversation to physical touch to adventure, Casanova would find a way to bring that fantasy to life for the woman he was with.

  • Dandies

Dandies are free spirits. They show other people what it means to be truly free. They push away societal norms and expectations and design themselves to be totally unique and independent.

Oscar Wilde is a famous example of a dandy. He hated convention and was oftentimes caught donning a green velvet suit.

Andy Warhol was also a dandy. He was known for saying whatever he wanted and doing whatever he felt. People often complained about his behavior but instead of putting up a fight or defending himself, Warhol would simply find another circle of friends to hang with.

Dandies tend to attract people who have desires that have been long-hidden.

  • Naturals

Naturals are honest, playfully childish, and spontaneous creatures. They are full of energy and life. And they often remind people of their childhood.

Charlie Chaplin was a famous natural. His playful and fun behavior which emulated the beautiful simple aspects of life attracted people to him.

  • Coquettes

Coquettes are the people who raise other’s hopes and dreams and then crush them repeatedly. And for some reason, this really draws people.

Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon’s wife, is a historic example of a croquette. She would constantly turn from hot to cold. And this made Napoleon want her even more. He would try with all his might to win her over again and again and he never grew bored of her.

  • Charmers

Charmers like to point out other’s best qualities in order to make them feel good about themselves.

Charmers fully understand the moods and emotions of others. This allows them to quickly adapt to whatever the other person is feeling and provide for them what they need.

Benjamin Disraeli, a prime minister of England in the 19th century, is a famous example of a charmer. He gained Queen Victoria’s affection and political support through charming her and making her feel beautiful.

  • Charismatics

People who are charismatics are known for being confident, sophisticated, and purposeful. They also are very good at showing their vulnerable side while still remaining on top and in charge.

These people are brave and like to take risks.

Vladamir Lenin, a courageous historic example, would walk the streets freely even though he was getting death threats. He was a strong supporter of communism and spent his life pushing those ideas into society. Lenin was known for inspiring others with his words. Even after he passed away, Lenin continued to have a following of people.

  • Stars

People who are stars, help others to make their fantasies a reality and escape the hum-drum of everyday life.

They quickly pick up on what people want to manifest into, and they help them to feel as if it’s all possible.

John F. Kennedy is a famous example of a star. He promised America to help build a new society and essentially make it great once again.

  • Seducing Your Target

Every romance and relationship is different. But in the art of seduction, there are four stages that will help you succeed.

  • Stirring Interest and Desire

Someone who knows the art of seduction knows that if they come on too strong, they may scare their target. So, the trick is to make yourself noticeable and approachable without being too obvious about your intentions.

Engage in conversation platonically and without affection in order to stir interest and desire.

  • Create Pleasure and Confusion

Most people want to escape normal life and have a little adventure which is why a skilled seducer will do things that their target would not expect, just to keep them on their toes.

For example, if you are targeting a beautiful woman who is not usually complimented on her wit, surprise her by telling her how clever she is. This will make her feel that you see something in her that no one else has before, which will result in making her feel special.

Another trick is to alternate your behaviors when interacting with your target. For example, you could act sweet and innocent, but then drop flirtatious notes when exiting the room. This behavior is mysterious and intrigues your target.

To keep them interested, try being flaking. If you back out on a date or commitment last minute, your target will start to want you even more. Everyone wants what they can’t have.

  • Go Off the Precipe

After you have secured your target through the art of seduction, it is vital to deepen the connection with them. It is important that you take extreme measures in order to show your target how much you care for them and how far you are willing to go.

A historic example of this is the story of Pauline Bonaparte and her toothache. Major Jules de Canouville won Pauline’s heart when she was afraid to get her tooth pulled at the dentist. Canouville bravely let the dentist take a tooth from the back of his mouth first to show Bonaparte that there was nothing to be afraid of.

  • Move In For the Kill

The final stage secures everything. This is the stage where you must make your target fully understand how much you mean to them and what a difference having you in their life makes in regards to their happiness.

To do this, you must pull back and become distant. This will force your target to begin pursuing you. Then, when the time comes, you must make a dramatic gesture of your love for them.

The ups and downs that happened throughout the four stages will allow you and your lover to feel a satisfying climax during your dramatic gesture of love.

  • After the Seduction

After the seduction, it is not uncommon for the enchantment to end and reality to kick in. So, you must be prepared for that risk.

“There is too little mystery in the world; too many people say exactly what they feel or want.”- Robert Greene

Once you and your target start feeling complacent in the relationship, you will inevitably fall out of love. So, it’s best to remain a little mysterious to your partner.

However, if you wish to end the relationship, the art of seduction can help you there too. All you have to do is try to be predictable and the flames will surely fade.

The Main Take-Away:

Understanding the art of seduction and the human behavior behind it can help you to persuade people for your best interests. By observing and identifying behaviors in yourself and in others, you will have more confidence navigating and initiating relationships, as well as attracting others to your ideas.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Range by David Epstein

Key Insights

There is no single key that will unlock every kind of door. That is due to a basic principle: when something is specialized, it's not universally useful. This is great when we’re talking about the key leading to your front door. Not so great if it's your skillset. The book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World discusses the value of having a range of skills versus a single specialization. This can be crucial, especially since:

Specialization is not the only way to excellence

Take for instance: Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. They have one big thing in common: they’re both star athletes. Tiger Woods showed signs of skill with golf from the time he was a child, practiced golf exclusively, and went on to become legendary. Roger Federer had a significantly different experience. As a kid growing up, he just loved any sport with a ball. It was a while before he was introduced to tennis. Instead, he played many different sports, even refusing to move into a more advanced tennis league because he wanted to hang out with his friends. This is called sampling, and we will say more about that later. He was a “late specializer”. Meaning that he chose tennis after trying out many different sports. After his success, studies began to crop up indicating this was the pathway of many experts in different sports. They tried out a bunch of different sports, then settled on a sport to specialize in later on.

Though some areas certainly do require Tiger Wood’s level of specialization, many others benefit from people with range. Range is the ability to perform many different tasks well. Roger Federer developed this by trying out many different sports in his youth before he chose one to specialize in. Often, people feel specialization is the only way to achievement or enjoyment. If you operate on this line of thinking, you need to ask yourself:

Are chess and golf representative of all activities that matter to you?

If so, then yes, specialization is important. In chess, this is essential. Kids have to be younger than 12 when they learn to play chess or they will never be grandmasters. Talk about pressure and specialization. However, even amongst these super talented kids, specialization often creates a reliance on pattern-finding. People who specialize can get so familiar with certain patterns and problems that solving novel tasks become nearly impossible for them. People who are highly specialized can appear to be superhuman: especially chess players and golfers, but they’ve just developed the skill of recognizing patterns. This can be helpful… but not always. This is because:

Unfortunately, the world is not golf or tennis, it's martian tennis.

Meaning the rules are constantly changing, and it's up to you to figure them out. In a game of bridge, when the rules were slightly altered, experts had a harder time playing. Scientists inducted into the highest-ranked national academies tend to have hobbies outside of their domain. People who could move from career to career, like from playing in an orchestra to conducting one, are only able to do it because they can successfully apply knowledge from one pursuit to another. They weren’t getting caught in rigid patterns.

Think of a man who has lived his whole life in the desert: He can be tremendously helpful if you land there. But if he were brought back to the city, he would have no idea what to do!

So, is specialization a problem?

Yes and no. But it's an issue when our whole society becomes focused on it… and to a degree, it has. In colleges, students tend to become more knowledgeable about one specific topic, their major. In fact, it was found that students in certain majors were not able to transfer the skill sets or concepts they had learned to understand or problem-solving in other areas of study. According to Flynn, they develop a “narrow critical competence”. Student’s aren't sharpening the tools of critical thinking to aid them in mastering any area. This becomes a big problem when you realize these kids aren’t usually getting jobs centered around their major. So they’re facing new and novel problems with no way to solve them. That’s a big problem. How do you avoid this? Sampling.

Start with sampling to develop a sharpened skill:

Sampling is trying out a lot of things and seeing what you enjoy. Many parents want their kid to perform like an Olympian, but they don’t realize that in order for their kids to perform like an Olympian, they must do what the Olympians did, which was often sampling different activities and trying out different sports to build a rounded competence.

An experiment by John Sloboda supports this claim. When kids in bands were measured for skill, it was determined that the ones who had structured lessons had “average” skills, while the kids who were exceptional (you guessed it) spaced out their time amongst three instruments. According to psychologists, the best way to learn is to have a sampling period, followed by a narrowing of focus, increased structure, than an explosion of practice volume. The more contexts in which something is learned, the more the learner creates abstract models, and the less they rely on any particular example.

Just ask Jack Cecchini. He is a master at creating and teaching both Jazz Music and classic guitar. He was also self-taught, moving from instrument to instrument and developing classes based on a conceptual understanding rather than learning songs note by note. He doesn’t think about playing: he just plays. Cecchini states, “I get a lot of students from schools that are teaching Jazz, and they all sound the same. They don’t seem to find their own voice”.

He developed his voice through struggling and teaching himself.

Now, how can these ideas help you in business? Here are some key takeaways.

Key Takeaways

Don’t let blind optimism get in the way of success:

People have a very strong tendency to be overly optimistic about how successful they will be, or how easy it will be to accomplish something. When people focus on the inside view, they are unable to see the larger picture. Therefore, their blind optimism can cause them to make decisions that aren’t ultimately beneficial. This is an issue of focus, of not being able to think outside the box about potential outcomes. Sound familiar?

It's ok if you tend towards this mistake, many people do. In fact, Scottish officials who were building the New Scottish Parliament Building in 1997, they originally estimated the cost of building to be 40 million British pounds. By the end, it had cost 430 million pounds to make. Even after recreating estimates, they were still ultimately unable to successfully estimate how much the build would cost. This was due to optimistic thinking. They had enough information to make the correct estimate: they were just absurdly unrealistic.

Instead: Consciously put energy into being realistic. Compare what you are doing to other projects. See where they are similar. Don’t assume yours is better or different.

Don’t get trapped in an unsolvable loop due to specialization

Specialization can be helpful for solving a certain kind of problem. However, it can also be tremendously unhelpful for solving unfamiliar problems. New problems require new solutions. In studies where researchers who had the same specialization were asked to solve a novel problem, they weren’t successful as quickly as other teams comprised of those who had more varied backgrounds. It makes sense: if one person can’t solve a problem with one way of thinking, why would another be able to?

Instead: Diversify. Groups with scientists from a broad range of fields were able to solve problems more quickly and effectively. Why? Because they had a variety of skills to draw from. In fact, it is suggested that businesses should look to other fields for inspiration, instead of focusing primarily on their competition. Other fields can offer insight and creative solutions. So does harboring a “growth” mindset, where the focus is on faith in development. Improve on old skills and develop new ones to avoid the rut. It doesn’t stop there: ask different departments for feedback on projects, instead of only seeking feedback from one department. It's all about allowing different skill sets and specialties to mix.

Don’t rely on rigid bureaucracy to manage your team

If there is a single leader who primarily corresponds with upper management, there’s a problem. When this was the protocol in NASA, lower level engineers were stifled because they were prevented from voicing concerns unless they had some sort of significant data to back it up. This caused multiple serious malfunctions in space launches. Another area influenced by breakdowns in protocol is hospitals: doctors often miscommunicate with regular medical staff because they only have training and experience with other doctors. A significant amount of patient deaths are due to lower-level employees feeling bullied by doctors, therefore unable to stand up to them or voice concerns.

Instead: Make communication lateral instead. This means open lines of communication between the boss and the employees, regardless of their level in the company. Integrate early in the onboarding process for new employees so communication styles can be firmly established. Allow employees to voice concerns, and take them seriously.

Don’t be afraid to change directions: People are often told “Changing directions is dangerous”. However, research shows that highly credentialed experts can become so narrow-minded that they actually become worse with experience - even while becoming more confident. A tech founder at 50 is more likely to have a successful company than one at 30, least likely is someone at 20.

Use Analogies to Help You Think

When Henry Ford invented the assembly line, he was inspired by meatpacking plants in the south. Charles Babbage was inspired by tools he saw in the weaving industry to create the difference engine (a giant calculator considered to be one of the earliest computers). Though what they saw was not directly applicable to their industry, they saw an underlying methodology that was useful. They successfully concepts from unfamiliar industries and applied them to their own.

Don't forget, it's ok to struggle.

Struggling is important. Kids who have teachers who give them too many hints teach the kids how to read the hints, not how to do the math. And it shows on test day. Even with monkeys, they are able to perform well after requesting hints but tested poorly. Studies were done on kids who had to recite word lists: one group just go to repeat them back, the others had 15 seconds to rehearse, the others had to do math problems. Though the first group performed better initially, the last group performed better after the kids were told the experiment was over. They had to work harder to hold the words in their brain, so the word stuck. Research strongly suggests the best learning road is the slow one. Training without hints is slow and error-ridden: and it's more effective for learning.

The key takeaway? Don’t be afraid to go slow, to redirect, and to sample new ideas. Even when you move from one area to another, the skills and development gained from that experience are not lost. Don’t take it all so seriously, and remember:

“It is all an experiment, as all life is an experiment”.

Main Takeaway

Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World focuses on people who have a range of skills instead of a singular specialization, and how this range can be incredibly beneficial, especially since Specialization is not the only way to excellence. In fact, there are many reasons that specialization can be a huge problem. It creates a reliance on pattern-finding. It can prevent creative problem-solving. Unfortunately, specialization is popularized in society. College students choose majors which specialize in one field, preventing them from developing many important abstract reasoning skills.

How can you develop skills better? Use sampling to develop a sharpened skill.

Now, how can you apply these ideas in business? Don’t let blind optimism get in the way of success. Don’t get trapped in an unsolvable loop due to specialization. Don’t rely on rigid bureaucracy to manage your team. Don’t be afraid to change directions. Use Analogies to Help You Think. Don't forget, it's ok to struggle.

The key takeaway? Don’t be afraid to go slow, to redirect, and to sample new ideas. Even when you move from one area to another, the skills and development gained from that experience are not lost.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit By Angela Duckworth

Key Insights

What’s the secret to getting to the top?

Is it talent?

Or, is it really just about believing in yourself?

In her book, “Grit”, Angela Duckworth shares her secrets to success. Duckworth puts emphasis on determination and perseverance when it comes to reaching your goal.

She tells why people often believe they are not good enough to reach their dreams and how this hinders their work efforts.

“I have a feeling tomorrow will be better is different from I resolve to make tomorrow better.”- Angela Duckwork

After reading these helpful tips from author, Angela Duckworth, you will understand why hard work is really the only thing you should be focused on when it comes to making your dreams come true.

Key Points

  • The Talent Bias

We have all heard the saying to keep on trying even when the going gets tough. But, the truth is, as humans, we have this thing called the talent bias. We believe that the people with the most talent will naturally make their way to the top without any hard work or effort. But, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even talented people need to work hard!

In business, employers would rather hire a person with a strong work-ethic than one who is just naturally good at what they do. When the people who enjoy hard work are encountered with a new obstacle they will work to overcome it. People with natural talent, however, might be baffled and overwhelmed, which could affect the way they problem-solve.

Still, unfortunately in the job world, people are often hit with the talent-bias. Someone who is a natural people-person may seem more valuable than someone who has learned to network along the way in their career.

  • Effort is More Valuable Than Talent

Effort leads to skills, which then leads to results. When you put the effort into something such as a political campaign, you begin to learn things along the way, and when you learn new skills, you can utilize them and see results.

“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”- Angela Duckworth

If you want a formula to refer to, Talent x Effort = Skill.

Then, to expand on that formula more, Skill x Effort = Achievement.

This formula can be used when practicing anything. For example, if you are a musician and you dream of attending Julliard, you must put in the effort in order to get to that achievement. Not only do you have to practice, but you must go through the effort of applying and auditioning for a spot in the program.

  • Stick to Low-Level Goals

In order to keep doing what you love, creating low-level goals will help you to maintain balance and keep you motivated. Think of low-level daily goals as a path you are paving to your success.

Starting with goals that are too high, such as the end goal of being an Olympian or a famous author will only encourage you to overlook the little things that must be done along the way to get to those desired positions.

If you don’t incorporate small goals into your daily habits, the big end goal will always seem impossible because you are not taking the little steps to get there.

When you have a clear vision of what you want, you can figure out a daily habit regimen that will reflect that and get you there.

  • Love What You Do

It cannot be emphasized enough that you should love what you’re doing. In a 2014 poll, two-thirds of Americans confessed that they felt disengaged when they were working. Only 13% said they felt motivated by their job.

This poll shows that you must love what you do in order to stay motivated.

That’s why it’s important to find a job that is right for you. If you are a people’s person and love socializing, you will not flourish working independently without regular human contact.

“When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won”- Angela Duckworth

But, with this in mind, you must also must be realistic about the jobs that you can do.

And, once you have found that job that motivates you and makes you happy, stick with it long-term so that you can grow and reach your highest potential.

  • Practice Smart

The old motto, “work smarter, not harder” is too true. And, it’s no big secret that people who practice a new skill will naturally become better at it than the people who do not put in the time and effort.

A big trick is to turn off your auto-pilot. Forget what you have always done and try something new. And, don’t forget to tailor your goals along the way in order to reach a new set of goals. For example, if you practice yoga and your goal is to hold your pose for an extra 15 seconds, but you surpass it, the next day tailor your goal to challenge yourself even more so that you can go further.

Another thing you must note is to listen to feedback, whether it be from your body during a yoga session, or a mentor at work. Do not continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. This will not bring you closer to your goal.

You need to practice efficiently in order to get to your end goal. Just putting in the time doesn’t always work. It must be done right.

  • Finding Your True Calling

The best way to get rid of that procrastination bug is to actively try to find motivation in the work you are doing.

If you love what you do, motivation comes extremely easy. However, for most people, that’s not the case. An easy solution is to find motivation by seeing how your work helps others.

“At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what we do matters to people other than ourselves.”- Angela Duckworth

Finding purpose in your job can make all the difference in the way you perceive your work.

And, even if you don’t want to stick with your job forever, there is always time on the side to find and develop your true calling or your ultimate passion.

  • The Role of the Teacher

Teachers and parents can definitely be impactful by rewarding children for hard work and determination, rather than just their natural talent. By teaching kids that hard work goes a long way, they will be more apt to incorporate it into their lives as adults.

Children should be encouraged to try harder rather than be put down when they are not naturally good at singing, art, or sports.

It is also important that teachers and parents adopt the part of role model to the kids in their lives. They must also work hard to show the children the benefits that come out of having a strong work-ethic.

  • It’s All About Grit

Grit is a quality that is learned, not that comes naturally. People who work hard and are ambitious are often said to have grit. But, this comes from years of learning through their own experiences and of those around them.

People who embrace grit understand that’s what it takes to get anywhere in life. Nothing is handed to you, you must work for it.

Main Take-Away

In order to feel purpose in your career, you must follow your passion. And, though the going might get tough, you must be determined to stick with it so that you can reach your highest potential.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

Are you searching for a more meaningful existence?

Do you like petting cats?

Are you wondering how these things are related?

In 12 Rules for Living Life and Eliminating chaos, author and psychologist Jordan Peterson presents solutions to chaos and finding meaning that includes tasks such as standing up straight, treating yourself like a friend, and yes, even petting cats.

Seems simple enough, right?

The author writes about how the soul craves a more genuine existence, then breaks down how to get there with the following 12 simple rules.

-Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Standing up straight and meeting the world eye to eye can change your perspective on life. Speak what you desire, say what you mean. Your brain will get a chemical rush, and others will respect you more. The image you portray to the world reflects back to you. If you appear confident and sure, you will be confident and certain.

-Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Being kind to animals and other humans is essential, being kind to yourself is crucial. Keep the promises you make to yourself, buy yourself a piece of cake after doing your taxes, take care of yourself. Get to know yourself; design your personality. Stay true to what you learn and know about yourself.

-Make friends with people who want the best for you. Don't keep people around who enable your bad habits. Find people who genuinely support you and aid your growth.

-Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. There will always be someone better at something you're trying to do than you are. That will never change. Instead of comparing yourself to them, compare yourself to where you were yesterday. Decide what you want to change. Ask yourself, "What could I do, that I would do, to make Life a little better?"

-Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. It is the job of the parents to make their children socially desirable. This can be done through a variety of means, primarily by rewarding good behavior. You want your daughter to talk more? Reward her when she does. Limit the rules, and use the least force necessary to enforce them. If your kid gets angry, put them in time out until they calm down. That way, the kid wins, and the anger doesn't. Be aware of your own capacity as a parent to be vengeful and evil. Kids wear even the most patient adults out, especially temperamental ones.

-Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world. Stop doing all of the things you know are wrong, even if you aren't sure how you know they are wrong.

-Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). Start using your time to make your life better, not worse. Do this by doing what is best, not what is easy or quick. Be humble, pay attention. Successful people are successful because they can delay gratification. What is expedient doesn't last and only works for the moment, while meaning continues.

-Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie. What do you do when you don't know what to do? Tell the truth. If you've rejected the truth for a long time, you get closer and closer to life destruction. Everyone needs a purpose, but secondary to the purpose must be a method. Telling the truth can be the method by which you achieve your ambitions. Let things unfold as they will, while you tell the truth.

-Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. The purpose of memory is to prevent the same thing from happening over and over again. You need to have the courage to learn something new. If you find listening is boring, you're not doing it right.

-Be precise in your speech. Don't let little things pile up that you refuse to discuss. They will eventually destroy your relationships. Avoid this by being honest. Talk about what you want. Tell people with clarity who you are. The things you are afraid will come from this are usually much scarier than the actual result.

-Do not bother children when they are skateboarding. Humans prefer to live on the edge. If we refuse these impulses, when something arises that is full of risk and opportunity, we won't be prepared for it, and we will fail.

-Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. When you love someone, it is often not in spite of that person's limitations, but because of their limitations. These will eventually cause you pain. When you leave the situation to deal with the pain, you might encounter a cat. Petting a cat on the street may allow you to marvel at the fact that you exist at all, at the wonder of being.

The final takeaway? Finding meaning doesn't have to be complicated. Stripping away complications, dishonesty, and quick fixes can create an opportunity for meaning to appear. Now, find a cat to pet and start living!

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Overview

The word “atomic” is meant to represent something small; the atom is the smallest unit of a greater whole. Therefore, by making small changes to our habits everyday, we form “atomic habits” that over time allow us to reach our goals.

About the Author

James Clear is an author, entrepreneur and a self-improvement enthusiast. Clear formulates his work around striving to answer one question: How can we live better? As a Behavior Science expert, he uses scientific research to develop his tips for helping humans live better. Clear is also a photographer, with a portfolio of work spanning over 25 countries. He is a charitable supporter of protecting children and pregnant mothers against malaria with a portion of his earnings going to support these initiatives.

Key Takeaways

We find it hard to change habits because we try changing the wrong things and we go about changing those habits in the wrong way. Success happens through a series of daily habits, not random transformations. Habit stacking and starting rituals help us effectively change habits by fulfilling the four laws of behavior change.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

  1. New Year’s resolutions fail because we fail to make them obvious, easy, attractive and satisfying. These are the four laws of behavior change.
  2. Failing to abide by even one of these means you will fail to stick to your resolution.

Habit Stacking & Starting Rituals

  1. Two strategies for accomplishing a goal that complies with the four laws are: habit stacking and placing your focus on starting rituals.
  2. Habit stacking uses one already functional habit in your life as a cue for a new habit. For example, flushing the toilet is a cue for washing our hands. Here, we’ve learned to stack the habits of toilet flushing and hand washing.
  3. Habit stacking relies on the momentum of old habits as energy to initiate the new habit until the two collectively become one habit.
  4. Instead of focusing on an entire new behavior you’re trying to transform into a habit, focus on the starting ritual of that new behavior.
  5. In business, including a call to action with a link to a relevant product or service in the conclusion of that thank you email is habit-stacking.
  6. The starting ritual is the minimum number of steps before turning back becomes more arduous than proceeding with the new behavior.
  7. Most starting rituals are completed in no more than two minutes. Putting one dish away takes less than two minutes and if you’ve already started putting one dish away, you can continue putting the rest of the dishes away.
  8. Scanning your pass at the gym is a starting ritual for forming the new habit of working out more; if you make it to the gym and scan your pass, the incentive to continue forward with your workout is greater than the incentive to turn around and go home.

Sync & Score

  1. When you combine something you love with the new habit and limit your indulgence to only in commission of that habit, then it becomes easier to associate that habit with something good. Only enjoy listening to your favorite band when you’re working out, or only indulge in your favorite smoothie after leaving the gym.
  2. In order to make a habit inherently satisfying, you must keep score. Tally successful completions with a wall calendar.
  3. Keeping score shows you are becoming the type of person you wanted to be. If you write one page, you are a writer. If you practice one day, you are a musician. Enjoying the success of your new habit makes it easier to continue with that new habit.

Culture and Habits

  1. Culture influences our habits. Build better habits by joining a culture where your desired behavior is the norm and where you have common interests with members of that culture.
  2. Reduce the friction it takes to develop good behaviors (“Law of Least Effort”). Agreeing to walk more during the day requires effort. Parking at the very end of the parking lot requires little effort but forces the behavior of walking more every day.
  3. Be mindful to avoid letting boredom of the routine of good habits cause you to stray from them.

When you stack & start a new habit then sink & score, the new habit you’re trying to achieve will become obvious, easy, attractive and satisfying.