Atomic Habits Chapter 18

I like this chapter. Great advice, great anecdotes and examples. I wish it was more focused on habits. It would take less editing to make the chapter fit a business book than a book on habits. To be fair, this is the 1st chapter in the last section: Advanced Tactics.

Genes dictate suitability, not success

You can’t ignore your genes. You are who you are and there are certain things you’ll never be great at.

Certain things – not everything.

There are plenty of things you can be good at. There are plenty of things you can be well above average at. And there are probably a few things you can be great or even world-class at.

Play your game

Play your game has 3 parts.


Regardless of your potential, you have to do the work.


Pick something that you can do well. I’m not built for professional football. I would have driven myself insane if I had dedicated my life to becoming a pro football player.

The secret to maximizing your odds of success is to choose the right field of competition.

Don’t pick something you will fail at. Pick something you will succeed at.

If you want to be a standout, pick something that’s easy for you and hard for everyone else.


You get to pick what you do. You should pick something you like.

You get to invent what you do. You can make your own rules.

Clear references a quote from cartoonist Scott Adams. Adams says his drawing is above average but nowhere near the best. He says the same about his humor. But the combination of his drawing and his humor and his perspective creates a unique, best-in-class skillset.

Key takeaways and implementation

I’m in the process of rebranding/reorienting my consulting practice. It’s all about combining my strengths and interests and perspectives to create a unique offering. Like I said, this chapter could go in a business book.

How I did it:

  1. I defined my goal. In this case, my goal is both monetary and geographic.
  2. I did a giant brain dump. I made lists of strengths, weaknesses, interests, dislikes, and any position in my industry that I disagreed with.
  3. I mixed and matched the pieces until I found a combination that would:
    1. play to my strengths while avoiding my weaknesses
    2. emphasized my interests
    3. let me create a new category I could dominate
    4. had a way to meet my goals (I think a lot of people downplay this step, telling themselves that they’ll figure out a way to make it work. Maybe they do… but what happens when they don’t?)
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author: James Clear
Amazon rating: 4.8
Amazon price: $14.99
Amazon data gathered on 1Oct2020
Review status: In progress

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